After analyzing roughly 1200 telephone numbers that were tagged as belonging to “scammers” I can confidently conclude that Western Union is used by scammers about 90% of the time. Moneygram and various pre-paid cash cards like Greendot are far behind in the second place.
If we look at the evidence found online it becomes apparent that many of the independent Western Union agents are in on the scam. Some Nigerian scammers bragged about paying 5% commission to these Western Union ‘branches’.
There are countless examples of criminal investigations where the actions of Western Union agent have come under suspicion. The most recent story took place in Canada and covered by CBC.ca.
The Canadian police asked Western Union to do something about this rampant scams, but it’s unclear if anything was actually done. The agents at these locations would accept money transfers without asking for any ID. The only thing they required was the MTCN and number.
After doing additional research online and becomes clear that scammers prefer to use the same agents to accept these fake transfers, so it would be very simple for Western Union to simply shutdown these locations, which they don’t seem to be doing.
If we consider that about $1 million in transfers was performed in Canada alone, it becomes apparent that Western Union is making good money from these fake transfers.
So what can they do?
The simplest thing would be to require agents to scan the pieces of ID that he receive and also to force the locations to install security cameras.
But unless the momentum builds up and the public threatens to boycott this money transfer system I don’t think things are going to change.
Or maybe Western Union needs to learn from the other money transfer systems because obviously they’re doing something right if they are not responsible for 90% off stem transfers. Paypal is a much bigger player and you rarely hear about scams being performed through their system.