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Western Union (USA) admits that its system facilitated scammers, and puts money aside to recompense victims. How can you see details of your financial transactions?

In a ” but also that it has forfeited 6 million so it can recompense victims of these frauds.

So, if I wire this money to a person I don’t know with only a password between them receiving the money or not, what is to stop them bribing or whining their way to getting the clerk to hand it over? If Western Union didn’t have a password system in place, it wouldn’t trick otherwise savvy people from thinking this was a legitimate escrow system that they could trust. And why did the details look like a cut-and-paste job? The final red flag was when the supposed brother-in-law started asking for the transaction number of the payment before he arrived. But when I thought about it, once he had that transaction code, the only thing stopping them from having my money was a clerk I don’t know in a country I don’t know, who may or may not bother asking for a password. I’m sure a friendly clerk could look the transaction up for them.

If they can’t trust their agents worldwide to implement the password system effectively, it should be abolished. It dawned on me that I didn’t have any of their details, other than a Facebook profile and an email address.

Launched way back in 1995, Craigslist took the Internet world by storm with its innovative cross of classified ads with the web. She has left the Thermomix with her brother-in-law who can bring it around whenever I’m free. That or pay him in cash and he can wire it to the seller. But no, she tells me Western Union has this password protection set up.

But as with all Internet-based transactions, some users prefer to game the system... You invest so much time into selling a product or researching the perfect item, complete the transaction, and then… I nominate a password and when I’ve seen the goods I tell her brother in law what it is (or email her with it). I even chatted to my husband about it and we agreed that Western Union sounded like they had a good system in place. They have posts about consumer protection and how you should never send money to someone who you don’t know in real life.

She can’t use it because she’s away, and she’d prefer the cash. I mention that I’d rather not send money before I see the item and that if I can send a payment online I can do that while her brother-in-law is here watching me.

Now, that’s a bloody good deal as those things usually go for 900€. She tells me she bought the item a few months ago, but now has to travel for work. People round here like cheques, but if I were selling, I’d prefer to be paid in cash. She says she’d prefer a Western Union transfer, which I can do via the post office or online.

For instance, if they are transferring to a country that is not their own, this would be a good time to remind the customer that this password system is ineffective and that they shouldn’t transfer to someone that they don’t know. Actually, come to think of it, this whole thing sounds dodgy.

The problem with scammers is that they have perfected the art of sounding harmless. Subsequently, the offer to deliver to my house, then the elaborate payment system and the brother-in-law. And why is this person ringing from a private number? I might just wait to see if this guy turns up with a Thermomix for me and pay him in cash if he does. I say again, the only reason this looked half-believable is because all of the red flags came at different times.

All of our financial institutions, including banks and other finance agencies like Western Union and Money Gram have to report all financial transactions with AUSTRAC, especially those over ,000 (Threshold Transaction Report – TTR).

This includes making reports when they have concerns about what is happening and is called Suspicious Matter Report (SMR).

But what I will re-iterate is this: Don’t send large amounts of money via the Internet to people you don’t know, even if there’s a supposed password system in place.