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Late last month, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) began mailing more than 34,000 checks to consumers who lost money in cross-border fraud schemes involving payments made via wire through MoneyGram International, Inc.
Better Business Bureau’s across the country are receiving inquiries from the public as to the validity of these checks. They are legitimate checks and the FTC urges consumers who receive them to cash them within 60 days. As a reminder, the FTC never requires a payment of money up-front or the provision of additional information from consumers before the checks can be cashed as issued.
The checks are part of an $18 million dollar settlement agreement reached between MoneyGram and the FTC. In October 2009, the FTC charged that MoneyGram allowed its money transfer system to be used by fraudulent telemarketers to bilk U.S. consumers out of tens of millions of dollars - after these consumers were falsely told by con artists they had won a lottery, were hired for a secret shopper program, or would receive loans for an advance fee.
A press release describing the FTC complaint and the settlement agreement with MoneyGram can be found at www.ftc.gov/opa/2009/10/moneygram.shtm.
The redress checks being issued to consumers average $520. The checks are being sent to U.S. consumers who complained directly to MoneyGram about their fraud-induced money transfers within the United States to Canada. However, consumers who were tricked into wiring funds by fraudulent telemarketers and didn’t file complaints might still be eligible for proceeds from the settlement. The redress program covers consumers whose transfers were made between the years 2004 through 2008. Consumers who have questions about the settlement can call the claims administrator at 1-877-740-6993.