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Frequently Asked Questions


Consumer Protection

Are there common fraud scenarios that I should be aware of and things I shouldn’t send money for?

Be wary if you are required to pay a fee before receiving a loan. Beware of sweepstakes, prize or lottery company representatives who tell you to transfer money to them in order to claim a prize you've won. There are many companies running fraudulent contests that ask you to transfer them money but give you nothing in return.

Beware of unsolicited letters or emails from a Nigerian or other foreign government officials requesting assistance in the transfer of excess funds from a foreign country into your bank account.

Beware of telephone calls from the police claiming someone you know has been in an accident or arrested and is requesting money.

Beware of unsolicited letters or emails offering an unrealistic price for expensive or difficult to find merchandise.

Make sure you know to whom you are sending money. If you are purchasing goods or services and paying through the Western Union network, it is your responsibility to verify the reputation and legitimacy of the seller. Western Union is not responsible for the non-receipt or quality of any goods or services.


I received a suspicious email from someone claiming to be Western Union. What should I do?

If you receive an email from a company representing itself as Western Union and you are not sure it was sent by Western Union, do not click on any links in the email. This may be a "phishing" attempt to fraudulently acquire sensitive information from you. Instead, immediately forward the suspicious email to spoof@westernunion.com.

Western Union will never send you emails to ask for your user ID, password, or credit card details.

Find out more about Fraud Protection


Can the Test Question feature secure my funds or delay payment of a transfer?

The "Test Question" feature in the Western Union® Money Transfer service is designed for emergency situations where the receiver does not have proper identification (e.g. his or her wallet and identification have been stolen). It should never be used as additional security to time or delay the payment of a transfer. In many locations, Western Union will pay the receiver whenever the receiver shows proper identification, even if the receiver does not know the answer to the test question. 


Does Western Union offer an escrow service or any kind of buyer protection?

Western Union does not offer an escrow service or any type of "purchase protection" policy. Western Union's business is to transfer funds from a sender to a receiver. We caution people who use our services against sending money to people they don't know. It is the sender's responsibility to know the party to which the funds are being sent. Using a fictitious name or changing the receiver name after the money transfer has been sent is not a guaranteed means of securing funds. If a receiver presents proper identification with the same name as on the money transfer, payment will be made.

Be wary of 3rd party "collection" or "holding" services unless they are a reputable licensed escrow service. Western Union is not an escrow service, should not be used as an escrow service and is currently not affiliated with any escrow services.


Can I use Western Union to pay for online auctions?

For online auctions, examine seller feedback carefully and know the warning signs associated with fraudulent auction sales. Most online auction sites have safety guidelines or FAQs that can help you identify potentially fraudulent sales. Be wary if the seller is using a free email address or insists on accepting only one form of payment. Report any suspicious activity and file non-delivery of goods complaints with the auction site through which you purchased the item.

Remember that Western Union never acts as a guarantor of an auction buyer or seller's performance.


What can I do if I suspect fraud or am a victim of fraud?

If you feel you have been the victim of fraud and have sent money using Western Union, call our Fraud Hotline to file a formal fraud claim with us.  We also encourage you to file with your local law enforcement, as we work directly with them on their investigation and details of the transfer.

Find out more about Fraud Protection


What does Western Union do to protect my information?

Western Union employs a variety of technique, including SSL technology, to keep your personal information safe.

Additionally, 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.
  • Avoid writing your password down where it may 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 http://www.microsoft.com.

Use extra caution when entering your password on a computer that does not belong to you. Viruses, spyware, or the browser settings might be used to compromise your profile by recording your user name and password.

For more information about how to protect yourself from fraud, visit our Fraud Awareness page