All who sent money by Western Union or MoneyGram need to immediately contact WU or MG to find out in what city (and bank) the money was picked up.
Most scammers lie about the city they live in. They do that to mislead the victims about their true identity. If you were given some exact bank address for WU or MG transfer, do not believe that info. Most likely, the money was picked up some place else. WU and MG transfers can be picked up at any WU location in any city in Russia or Ukraine, which makes it very easy for scammers to lie about their true location within the country.
The best way to find out where the scammer is actually located, is to check where the money was received.
When a person receives a WU or MG transfer, he or she has to show a valid ID (in Russia or Ukraine that would be passport). Their ID info is recorded on the computer at the bank by the WU or MG employee before the funds are released. Therefore things such as the receiver's passport number and registered address get recorded. That info is then uploaded into WU main database, along with the name of the bank and the date and time the transaction took place. That information becomes invaluable for police when they consider a case against a particular scammer.
However, for some unknown reason, both WU and MG feel that the identities of the crooks abusing their system and their clients need careful protection. Therefore they often refuse to cooperate with the victims. They strongly resist releasing the ID info (passport number and address) without subpoena, but they can and should release the city and the name of the bank to the victims at the victim?s request.
Not all their representatives treat victims equally. Sometimes some particular representative may feel that city and bank names should also be protected. Nevertheless, with some persistence, you should be able to overcome their resistance.
Instructions for calling WU and MG:
? Collect all Western Union (WU) or MoneyGram (MG) receipts you have.
? Call WU (1-800-325-6000) or MG (800-666-3947) and find a way to speak to a representative from Fraud or Abuse department. Provide the representative with the money transfer number and the date it was sent, explain that you were not aware that the receiver was a crook, and ask the representative to provide you information about the city name and the bank address where the transfer was picked up by the receiver.
? If the representative refuses to provide you with this info, politely explain that you are aware that such information is routinely provided to the victims by phone and email and that you need just the name of the city and the bank name if possible. In fact, ANY info they can provide to you. If they still resist, ask to speak to a supervisor, be assertive and tell them you will seek legal actions against them if necessary. If they say that they don?t have the info and it needs to be requested from Russia or from another database, ask how long it would take and whom you should contact when the info is ready. Do not back off.
? Also ask the representative what kind of steps you can take to place a warning on the receiver?s name, so the next time someone tries to send money to your scammer, they would be warned by a WU agent that such a warning has been placed on the lady?s name. If the representative doesn't know, ask to speak to a supervisor.
Please note that MG has more difficulty accessing their database than WU. WU seems to have a more sophisticated database that is accessible from their office computer. MG often has to request the necessary info from Russia.
Also note that the info is not kept in their system forever. The longer it has been since the transfer took place, the longer it would take for them to research that info for you.
Anyone who has called WU or MG, please share your experience with others, and if you had any problems, please tell us how you managed to get the info out of them and how long it took. Thank you!