Thursday, November 17, 2011

How Much Scam Does It Take?

Western Union profits from victims of crime sending their life savings to scam artists in Jamaica, Nigeria, and elsewhere. MoneyGram does too. How much scam does it take to stop this?

I became aware of this issue as a Minnesota relative of my wife asked our help in bringing an end to the scam that has robbed her of tens of thousands of dollars and threatened her livelihood. She found her life threatened by these thugs as well.

Amazingly, a 2009 estimate said more than $30 million in thefts has occurred and the tide has not yet been stemmed. Another said more than $84 million.

And to think Western Union and MoneyGram profited on those millions.

Does an exec from Western Union or MoneyGram go home and brag about their business profits knowing full well a percentage of their success is owed to being a conduit for crime?

It's long past enough.

That $30 million, mostly from the people who could least afford it, means a greater burden will some day be placed on all of us to care for people who otherwise wouldn't have needed taxpayer help. Plus, theft of this sort is tax deductible so it's easy to calculate the potential government tax losses.

Yet, Western Union and MoneyGram keep making money, though, on these fraudulent transactions.

I think it's time to prohibit all money transfers to countries known to be unable to fight phone scamming of US citizens.

If not that, then I think it's time Western Union and other money transfer organizations be required to insure every transaction made with such countries. If found to be fraudulent, the insurance should cover full recovery for the victims.

The FTC took action against MoneyGram, but victims keep being victimized. See

Really.  How much scam does it take?

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