Wiring is a convenient way to send money to relatives or loved ones, but it can also be fertile ground for scammers.

Just a few months back, Western Union made big news by agreeing with the federal government to pay back nearly $600 million to anyone who fell victim to a scam that used Western Union between Jan. 1, 2004 through Jan. 19, 2017.

If you feel like you were a victim, you can fill out an online complaint with the Federal Trade Commission.

“There is a claim process through the (Federal Trade Commission) website and victims have to provide certain information, and part of that information is their social security number, and I know that as a victim of identity theft or fraud, sometimes that’s a touchy subject for some people to give up again,” said Jason Kama, director of marketing for the Hawaii Better Business Bureau. “I think it’s reassuring to see a company like Western Union step forward and try to right a wrong like this especially in a way that they can.”

You must submit a claim by Feb. 12, 2018.

Some of the cases to look out for that are eligible for refunding:

  • Online or internet scams – you did not receive the items you tried to buy online
  • Lottery or prize promotion scams – you were told you won a lottery or sweepstakes, but never got the prize
  • Emergency or grandparent scams – you sent money to someone pretending to be a relative or friend in urgent need of money
  • Advance-fee loan scams – you paid upfront fees, but did not get the promised loans
  • Online dating or romance scams – you sent money to someone who created a fake profile on a dating or social networking website.

“Whenever you wire money or send money or send a gift card or anything like that, make sure you know the recipient. Know the company you are dealing with so that you can make good choices,” Kama advised.

When considering wiring someone money, think before jumping in.

“As soon as someone requests you to wire funds instead of some other form, it puts up the red flag that hey, this might be something that I need to pay more attention to instead of just jumping onto it,” Kama said.Related Link: Western Union Refunds via FTC.gov

If you have a consumer concern or are interested in becoming an Action Line volunteer, call 591-0222 weekdays between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. or send an email to actionline@khon2.com.