LONDON – The London Metropolitan Police have announced that they will be working with money transfer giant Western Union in order to stop fraudsters from using that service for nefarious purposes. This means that all Western Union customers will be required to sign a form stating that they are confident that they are not being defrauded.
The Met have also entered into a similar agreement with online auction company eBay Inc. “There are businesses that fear their reputation will be damaged through the publicity that the police are involved and that will have a negative impact on their share price,” said Detective Chief Superintendent Nigel Mawer, head of economic and specialist crime at the Metropolitan police. He added that all they would do is ensure that the banks as well as the customers are not taken for a ride.
It is estimated that such frauds cost the public something in the tune of 1 billion a year. US-based Western Union will also cooperate with the police in spreading awareness about the dangers of fraud. Peter Bucher, Western Union’s Financial Services vice-president for operations said that even though the fraud cases were a small volume of the firm’s overall transactions, they cost them a lot reputation-wise. “Education is one of the best tools we have in the fight against consumer fraud and the educated consumers are better able to protect themselves,” he added. “We are heavily engaged with eBay to get the same kind of partnership. We are optimistic we will get somewhere with it,” said Nigel Mawer.
As a part of the agreement, Western Union will encourage its staff to reject suspicious transactions. “Money transfer should never be used for sending money to a stranger, someone whose identity cannot be verified,” said Bucher. Staff will also issue forms to customers warning them about potential scamsters lurking in the shadows.