Since 2016, losses due to fraudulent activity in the financial industry have been on the rise. Meanwhile, we have been experiencing a decreasing level of fraudulent activity.
In 2021, our fraud prevention efforts stopped $1.9 billion in bogus transactions. In fact, we experienced a 10% drop in reported fraud worldwide that same year. Keep in mind that this decrease occurred despite the scams and fraudulent activity occurring during the pandemic.
This decrease in fraud is due to Western Union’s investment in technology and personnel training. Explore the specific steps we’re taking to put a bright spotlight on fraud and protect our customers throughout the world.
Our progress through the years
When it comes to getting the word out on fraud, we continue to improve our communication with customers.
In 2020, we made a connection with 60 million plus customers in our continued efforts to spread awareness about fraud. In 2021, we increased that total by 97%. We extended our reach to over 121 million customers in a growing number of countries. To aid with communication, we convey critical information about battling fraud using the native languages of many of our customers.
What tactics does our company use to protect customers from fraud?
We have several safeguards in place to protect you from scams and other fraudulent activity.
Consumer fraud hotlines
Our consumer fraud hotlines are up and running 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Our agents are experts at gathering the details of a complaint, so we can investigate and follow up on every report.
We provide courtesy callbacks for customers making high-risk transfers. This simple safeguard helps to ensure the sender is fully aware of and in agreement with a money transfer.
Consumer education on the latest scams
We believe that being aware of the latest scams is an effective way to avoid becoming a victim of one. We offer tips on how to recognize a scam, common tell-tale signs, and how to respond.
As an example, our company provides education on how to recognize companionship scams that occur online. Companionship and romance scammers target many of their victims via social media.
We also offer helpful information on how to recognize an emergency phone scam. Have you ever heard of the Grandparent Scam? That’s just one example of an emergency phone scam. These scammers create a sense of urgency and prey on a victim’s willingness to help a family member or friend.
Some types of scams appear every holiday season like clockwork, while others come to life in response to natural disasters. Our company stays in close communication with law enforcement, so we can alert our customers of potentially fraudulent activity.
A thorough program of agent training
Maintaining a trained team of agents worldwide contributes to protecting our customers from fraud and scams of all sorts.
Some of the components of our agent training program are:
- Education via newsletters, alerts, and virtual forums on ever-changing scam tactics
- Instruction on proper fraud investigation guidelines and procedure
- Education on proper follow-up with customers on the status of the investigation
- Instruction on how to communicate with law enforcement regarding scam activity
Future consumer protection efforts
We have been making great progress in our consumer protection efforts. And we intend to keep our foot firmly on the gas pedal. By the year 2025, our goal is to connect with more than 300 million customers regarding fraud education and awareness.
Also, by 2025, our company has a goal of making over 300,000 connections with partners providing our services. These connections include compliance reviews, training sessions, and other opportunities to prioritize consumer protection.
Finally, our scam and fraud prevention efforts are ongoing. As 21st-century scams and fraudulent practices become more sophisticated, we remain dedicated to making adjustments to protect our customers.