Monday, March 4, 2013

Western Union Fraud Claims

Just got my adsense earnings through Western Union, but before I can claim my money someone already cashed it out.

The Story

I went to a Western Union branch in Taguig last March 1 to claim my AdSense earnings but when I gave the payment details to the agent he said that it was already claimed. At first we thought that it was just a problem with the MTCN that Google issued. That night I submitted a report to Google using this link. At the same time we called Western Union (888-1200) and informed about the problem. They said that they would investigate and they would call us back for updates but we did not hear from them again.

So we went back to the Western Union Location this afternoon (3/4/2013). The agent already knew about our issue and he told us that someone actually picked up the money on their second branch at the same building an hour before we arrived last March 1 (WTF). They showed us the form that I supposedly filled up, It has my name on the form but with a different address, middle name, age. Strange thing is they also tried to copy my signature. The agent also showed us the scanned driver's license that they used, (The picture on the ID is not me). We requested a copy of the ID but the Western Union agents refused to.

We also searched the internet if someone is also having the same issue and we stumbled upon Yugatech's post yesterday afternoon. We had the exact same issue. His payment was also claimed last March 1st.

I believe it was an inside job. Who else can get the MTCN details aside from Google and Me. I saw the signature on the form and it was close to my signature so a compromised adsense account or a keylogger does not apply here. Whoever claimed that payment definitely saw my signature before. And the fact that the payment was claimed on the same location that I usually go to for the last 3 months is definitely suspicious.

We already filed a report to CIDG Taguig this evening. We are also going to ATCD-CIDG Camp Crame tomorrow since the officers at Taguig said that they are probably more well equipped and accustomed to crimes like this.

I would love if Abe would also file a report on this with me since they would probably take it more seriously if they get more reports about this crime. I actually do not have any hopes in retrieving the money. I am more interested now on who are the people behind this fraud but it would be better if Western Union can still give us our money back.

This is definitely a well planned crime since they have fake IDs to show and they also know my signature.

One thing to note is that the agent did not ask for more IDs since they should be more strict when they are dealing with large amount of money. Her reason is that the person said that he was already a "suki" on that branch. Well they could always fake more IDs so asking more Identification Cards is useless. The government should pass the National ID System so that it would be much harder for criminals to commit crimes. Our government and Western Union should use biometric system in verifying the identity of a person. That would be far fetched but really the government should already pass the National ID system.

I will post which branch we went to probably later, but for now I'll just keep it to myself until the investigation is not complete. Western-Union is probably  not the problem here but the people working on those branches.

The lesson here is to claim your payment immediately after you get your MTCN. I am also going to opt for "Check - Secured Express Delivery" next payment since I no longer trust Western-Union. I also wish AdSense would also offer EFT here in the Philippines.

Another interesting article: