Western Union Scams
March 28, 2004 10:22 PM   Subscribe

Anyone know much about Western Union money transfers? Specifically, I'm wondering how people who use them for scams pull them off if Western Union truly works the way people say it does. [more]

Many times I come across deals (ebay, craigslist, wherever) where the seller will only take Western Union money transfers. The always explain the system like this:

a. you send a money transfer to the seller.
b. western union will give you a tracking number
c. you send the seller the tracking number, which will reveal to them who the money is being sent to and the amount, but not the sender's name (which they apparently need to pick up the money).
d. they ship your item.
e. when you recieve it, you release your name (obviously, you use a different name for sending money and ship-to address).

So, does Western Union really work like this and if so, how are these people exploiting the system?
posted by dobbs to Work & Money (4 answers total)
 
Oh, and I read the WU Faq, but it doesn't answer my questions.
posted by dobbs at 10:26 PM on March 28, 2004


Arrgh. Nevermind. Sorry, Matt. Please delete. Just found the answer at CL.
posted by dobbs at 10:33 PM on March 28, 2004


Googling for "western union ebay scam" brings up many interesting links, including this one.

It's not often that a company tells you not to use its services, but that's exactly what Western Union is saying. It wants you to know that you should not use Western Union's transfer service to send money to people you don't know. It has a division called Western Union Auction Pay for eBay purchases.

The fact is that anytime you're dealing with someone who wants you to use Western Union, it should be a red flag. It's the first sign you're about to be scammed.

posted by majcher at 10:35 PM on March 28, 2004


I second that. I'm lucky that I didn't manage to send a recent eBay seller of mine over $200 for an auction. He refused PayPal, insisted on Western Union, and now he's disappeared.

That said, another one of his buyers found his mother's phone number. Heh.

So, yeah. No money orders via eBay, please. Thanks.
posted by armoured-ant at 5:59 PM on March 29, 2004


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