Arlington, VA (July 11, 2013) – Better Business Bureau is partnering with the WesternUnion Company (NYSE: WU) to promote awareness of emergencyscams, in which victims are told that their loved one is traveling and needs help.Scammers make urgent pleas for the victim to send money, often to anothercountry. More people travel during the summer, and whenever people arevulnerable, fraudsters will generally attack.
BBB ScamStopperwas jointly launched by BBB andWestern Union as a site to help consumers reduce their chances of becoming avictim of a scam. Visitors can sign up to receive BBB Scam Alerts, weekly emails with details on the latest scamsreported to BBBs across North America.
“Emergency scams play off peoples’ emotions andstrong desire to help friends and family in need,” said Shelley Berhnardt,Director of Consumer Protection at Western Union. “Verify the emergency and resistthe urge to act immediately, no matter how dramatic the story is.”
Con artists hack into email or social media accountsand target the victim’s friends and family with frantic requests for money.They impersonate the traveler and claim to have an injury, a lost or stolenwallet, or even say they were arrested. Scammers use the information in theseaccounts to supply enough personal detail to make their requests appearlegitimate.
“The stories are extremely plausible, and manyscammers have done their research,” said Carrie A. Hurt, president and CEO ofthe Council of Better Business Bureaus. “But you should never send money for anemergency situation without verifying that it’s a real emergency. Always checkout the story with other family and friends, even if you’ve been told to keepit a secret.”
Informationon scams and how to protect yourself is also available at Western Union’sConsumer Protection Center: http://www.westernunion.com/stopfraud.
Formore than 100 years, Better Business Bureau has been helping consumers findbusinesses, brands and charities they can trust. In 2012, consumers turned toBBB 124 million times for Business Reviews on more than 4.5 million companiesand Charity Reports on 11,000 charities, all available for free at bbb.org. The Council of BetterBusiness Bureaus is the umbrella organization for 113 local, independent BBBsacross the United States and Canada, as well as home to its national programson dispute resolution and industry self-regulation.
About Western Union
TheWestern Union Company (NYSE: WU) is a leader in global payment services.Together with its Vigo, Orlandi Valuta, Pago Facil and Western Union BusinessSolutions branded payment services, Western Union provides consumers andbusinesses with fast, reliable and convenient ways to send and receive moneyaround the world, to send payments and to purchase money orders. As of March31, 2013, the Western Union, Vigo and Orlandi Valuta branded services wereoffered through a combined network of approximately 515,000 agent locations in200 countries and territories and approximately 100,000 ATMs. In 2012, TheWestern Union Company completed 231 million consumer-to-consumer transactionsworldwide, moving $79 billion of principal between consumers, and 432 billion businesspayments. For more information, visit www.westernunion.com.