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Sending money to someone you don't know?

You could be at risk for consumer fraud

Western Union is a great way to send money to people you know and trust. If you need to send money to someone you don’t know well, you may be putting yourself at risk for fraud. Because we care about consumers, Western Union urges you to protect yourself from fraud by considering the following:

  • Never send money to a stranger using a money transfer service.
  • Beware of deals or opportunities that seem too good to be true.
  • Don’t use money transfer services to pay for things like online auction purchases.
  • Never send money to pay for taxes or fees on foreign lottery winnings.

If you think you have been a victim of fraud, please contact your local Western Union agent.

Security from Online Fraud

Protect Yourself

Using to send money online is fast, convenient, and reliable. As with any online service, a few simple steps can help protect you:

  • Never share your password with anyone.
  • If you think someone may have your password, change it immediately.
  • Make sure your password is unique and hard to guess.
  • Use a password that includes both letters and numbers.
  • Never use your email address as your password.
  • Change your password regularly.
  • Don’t use the same password that you use for any other online service.

If someone contacts you claiming to be Western Union and asking for your password or inviting you to click on a link, don’t do it. Instead, forward any suspicious emails to

Remember, Western Union will never send you an email asking for your user ID or password.

Password Safety Tips

Protect Your Password

The following tips can help keep your password secure:

  • Make your password difficult to guess. Avoid using any part of your name, your birthday, or any words that can easily be associated with you.
  • Use a combination of letters and numbers, and a mix of lower-case and capital letters.
  • Use multiple passwords for your various accounts to decrease your risk in case one password is compromised.
  • Don't write your password down where it could be compromised.

You can further protect your passwords by making sure that your virus-scanning software is kept up to date, and by running anti-spyware programs. These programs can help protect you from viruses or other malware that could compromise your identity -- even though your computer may seem to be working fine.

If you use Microsoft Windows, make sure your Windows updates are enabled to help keep your operating system protected. You can learn more about Microsoft Windows updates at Microsofts website.

Use extra caution when entering your password on a computer that doesn't belong to you. Viruses, spyware, or the browser’s settings might be used to compromise your account by recording your user name and password.

Money Transfer Security Tips

Tips to help protect you from fraud

Western Union knows you work hard for your money. That’s why we’re working to help you protect yourself from fraud.

Be cautious if:

  • You receive an offer that sounds too good to be true, like a rock-bottom price on expensive or hard-to-find merchandise.
  • Yours is the winning bid in an online auction, and you're dealing with a seller who'll only accept a money transfer as payment.
  • You’re told you’ve won a lottery or prize, but have to pay taxes or fees before you can collect.
  • Someone responds to your ad claiming they've found your lost pet or jewelry and asks you to send money for shipping or a reward.
  • You’re selling merchandise and receive a check for much more than your asking price and are asked to send the extra amount back through money transfer.
  • You’re offered a low-cost loan but must pre-pay fees or the first few loan payments using money transfer services.
  • You get a call from someone claiming to be a police officer or a hospital employee asking for money for the bail or medical treatment of a loved one.
  • You respond to a job ad for a Mystery Shopper and as part of the job you receive a check and are asked to wire money back. The fact that a bank makes funds available doesn't mean that the check or money order will clear. It can take weeks for a counterfeit check or money order to be discovered, at which time the bank can deduct the amount that was originally deposited into your account.


  • Know the person you’re sending money to.
  • Buy goods and services from known and trusted sources.
  • Avoid paying for online auction purchases through money transfer.
  • Use extra caution if buying or selling items to someone outside of your country, especially when buying popular, high-dollar items.
  • Discontinue any transaction if someone coaches you on how to respond to questions asked by Western Union. This is a sure sign of fraud.
  • Contact your State Attorney General Office of Consumer Affairs if you think someone is trying to defraud you.


  • The Western Union is a great way to send money to people you know and trust.
  • It isn’t intended to send money to someone you don’t know.
  • Western Union doesn’t provide an escrow service and isn’t responsible for the quality or non-receipt of any goods or services.
  • Sending money using a fictitious receiver name won’t protect you when doing business with a stranger. Don’t do it.
  • Where available, the "Test Question" feature is designed for emergency situations where the receiver will not have proper identification. It should never be used as additional security to time or delay payment of a transaction.
  • If an offer sounds too good to be true, it probably is.