If you fell for a scam, you could have money coming. No, really, this time.
About $9 million in money stolen from victims of con artists' scams could be coming back, after a settlement with MoneyGram, officials have announced.
Acting Attorney General John J. Hoffman said Thursday New Jersey had joined a multi-state settlement with Texas-based MoneyGram Payment Systems, resolving an investigation focused on complaints from people who fell victim to scams, and wired money to the perpetrators through the service.
MoneyGram agreed to improve its anti-fraud programs and to pay $13 million, about $9 million of which will be used for restitution, according to the announcements. Eight states were involved in the investigation and settlement.
“Sadly, con artists use an array of scams to prevail on people to wire them money,” Hoffman said in an announcement of the settlement. “These range from the heartless ‘grandchild in distress’ scam — in which a fraudster contacts a grandparent and falsely claims that money must be wired to assist with a grandchild’s medical or legal emergency — to lottery and contest scams. In these lottery and contest scams, potential victims are told they’ve won a large sum of money but, in order to claim the prize, they must first wire money to cover required taxes or fees.”
The settlement provides for an independent third-party administrator who will review MoneyGram records and send notices concerning restitution to all people eligible to receive it under the settlement.
Generally, consumers eligible for restitution under the agreement are those who previously filed complaints with MoneyGram between July 1, 2008 and Aug. 31, 2009.
The complaints pertained to fraud-induced transfers sent from the U.S. to foreign countries other than Canada, the AG's office said.
More information about the settlement is available online as well.