• Report: #60706

Complaint Review: Western Union

  • Submitted: Sat, June 14, 2003
  • Updated: Fri, March 18, 2005

  • Reported By:Austin Texas
Western Union
13022 Hollenberg Dr Bridgton, Missouri U.S.A.

Western Union helps internet scammers get away with fraud Bridgton Missouri

*Consumer Comment: Bet you thought they were stolen

*Consumer Suggestion: It's the old saying: a fool and his money are soon parted.

*Consumer Suggestion: C'Mon, Dont Blame Western Union

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I hope you can help with this. I would hate to see others get ripped off as I have by Western Union and someone in Italy. Western Union operator 112 told me to place the test question on my wire transfer so that only I would be able to pick it up and then they gave my money to someone, god knows who, they won't tell me anything.

It all started on 6/02/2003 when I placed a bid on E-Bay for a laptop. I received an email from an eBay member on 06/03/2003 who said he could get me a new Gateway 600 XL for $650.00. I had just completed a buy now on a 3 month old HP Laptop for a friend for the same price. I thought it would be great to upgrade my laptop and get one for my sister. He asked that I make payment through Western Union, as he was in Italy, and it would get the laptops to me faster. I will include the emails between us so I don't have to write it all in here.

So to make a long story a little shorter, I went to Western Union on 06/05/2003 to transfer the money to myself (Please see emails). I intended to change the receivers name after the laptops were delivered. At Western Union, I asked if there was anyway someone other than me could pick up the funds. The sales rep said no, they would have to have proper ID and that I could place a test question on this wire transfer and if the receiving party did not know the answer they would not be able to pick up the funds. The girl at Western Union wrote the test question on my wire transfer form and said that only I could receive the money but I could call in later and change the receivers name if I needed to. I kept my test question to myself just to be on the safe side.

I replied to the seller on 06/05/2003 letting him know the funds were sent and the MTCN number so he could track the transfer and verify funds made it to Italy. I waited for an email from the seller letting me know the UPS Tracking number so I could track the packages. I also kept an eye on the Western Union website and my money to make sure there was no funny business going on with it. I had been assured by Western Union that all fail safes were in place to protect my money. I thought the receiver would have to have proper ID and know the answer to the Test Question. On June 7, 2003 just before going to bed I checked the Western Union web site and found that my money had been paid out. It was gone and I had never left the state of Texas, made a change to the receivers name or given out the answer to the test question to anyone, here or abroad. The seller abroad didnt even know I had placed a test question on the wire transfer.

I immediately called Western Union and asked them how they could release my funds to someone other than me, as stated on the Western Union form I used to send the funds. After all I sent the money to myself and I was still in Austin, Texas, nowhere near Italy. I was transferred to the fraud investigation department and spoke to a lady named Angie. She told me that it was my fault that someone other than me picked up the money I sent to myself and Western Union was not responsible for the mistake. I would have to contact my local law enforcement office and they would take care of it. Like the Police officers (in Austin) can go to Italy and track down this guy and get my money back. Angie told me this happened everyday and that the scam artists know Western Unions system and how it works. Thats how they get away with it. Angie said I should know better than to send money to myself and Western Union would not be held responsible for my loss.

I have all supported documents that show I sent this money to myself and the request for a test question to be asked to the receiver. I have to admit that I knew there was a chance this guy was not for real but I was assured but Western Union that my money was safe and I alone could change the receiver name or pick up the funds.

Here are the E-mails between me and the seller.

From: robdob2314@yahoo.com
To: jamesstz@hotmail.com
Subject: Question from eBay Member Gateway 600XL
Date: Tue, 03 Jun 2003 04:06:59 PDT

To member: jamesstz
From member: hoghead2570


Gateway 600XL
Dear Sir or Madam,

My name is Robert Broaddus and I want to make you an offer.

I noticed that you bid on Gateway Laptop
and my offert is about a brand new Gateway 600XL
with the following specs.

Technical Specifications

Mobile Intel Pentium 4 Processor 2.4GHz-M

512MB DDR SDRAM (2-256MB Modules)

60GB Ultra ATA Hard Drive

Media Drives
Modular 3.5" Diskette Drive
Modular 24x/10x/24x CDRW and 8x DVD combo

Graphics & Monitor
15.7" SXGA TFT Active Matrix
ATI Mobility Radeon 9000 w/ 64MB DDR video memory

Audio & Speakers
SoundBlaster Pro compatible sound and stereo speakers, internal
microphone, headphone/speaker jack, line-in, line-out, and mic jacks
Speakers not selected

High-Capacity Lithium Ion Battery with AC pack

Integrated V.92 56K Modem

Network Adapter
Integrated Intel PRO 10/100 VE Network Connection
Integrated 802.11b Wireless Networking

Keyboard & Mouse
Full-Sized Keyboard and EZ Pad Pointing Device

Phoenix NoteBIOS 4.0
SMBIOS (DMI) 2.3 Support
ACPI 1.0b support
APM 1.2 Support

Memory Slots
User Accessible Memory
Two 200 pin industrial standard DDR-SODIMM sockets
Accepts 2 DDRAM memory modules
DDR-266 support

The unit is BRAND NEW - not refurbished. It comes with all
supplied accessories,
and full manufacturer's warranty.

If you are interested please e-mail me at robdob2314@yahoo.com
to complete the deal.
I would like to get for the machine just $ 650us,
including shipping and insurance.
If you agree I will cover the shipping costs and I
will send the machine via UPS asap.

Please check my feedback to see that the offer is serious.

Please let me know if you agree.

Best regards

James Stotz wrote:
Hi Robert,

Yes, I am interested in the Gateway 600XL But first I need to know if it has
any USB Ports? Also do you take American Express? 650 US dollars sounds
like it to good to be true how do you get them so cheap? Does it come with
an OS or will I have to buy one myself?
Thank you



The product is brand new and very performant ,in
unopened box,comes up with all accessories and the
machine has a 2 year warranty. It have two USB ports an t will came with windows xp home edition

Now I will make a short preview of my daily activities
and my family status.
My name is Robert Broaddus and I am 44 years old and
I work at a Best Buy similar location in Milano,Italy and
I have 2 girls of 18 and 19 years old both students at
dentar medicine.
But to get to the point, I work at a Best Buy similar
store and I am able to get these items and basically
any other item from best buy for half the price or
sometimes even cheaper.

These itemss are not stolen, they come with the store
receipt and a 2 year warranty. They are Brand New in
the box shippend right to your front door. And if
anything is wrong with it the warranty will cover it
or if you feel like you just dont want it return it
with the receipt.

As a shipping carrier i will use UPS services
because I have worked with them in the past and they
were very fast and secure,and will be insured against damages,
double packed with anti-damage boxes and I will pay 100% for 2-3
days shipping so you can have it within 2-3 days after you make the payment.

The payment it will be done trough Western Union money
transfer because this is the fastest and safest way to
send the money ans also I have to buy the merchandise

I'll wait your email with any questions.

Thank you

James Stotz wrote:
Hi Robert,
Sounds Great!! Can I get two?
Thank You


Perfect!! 1300USD for both and I will pay for the shipping.

Ok this is what you have to do:

Here is my address where you must make the payment:

Robert Broaddus
via Elba #16 , 20144 , Milano


You must send me by WESTERN UNION
wire transfer services (please don't send me money
order home because I get the money in about 1
After you will send the money please send me the sender's name and adress as appears
on the money transfer request and the MTCN wich they
will provide you and also the shipping address where I must send the package

As soon i will receive the
payment confirmation from you by mail I will contact
the carrier and I will send you back the tracking
number of the packadge so you can track on net the
shippment all the way to you.

I want also to do something for me.

When you will go to the westernunion office to wire the mony
sometimews they ask you why are you doing that.(I was never asked)If you will tell them that
they are for something you have bought , i will have to pay when i pick up
the money a very expensive tax for makeing comerce.This is the part
where i lose .I can avoid paying this money by doing this way.
If they ask you that you can tell them that the money are for a
relative.In this case i don't have to pay any taxes.I hope that you will understand me.

Waiting for your answer

Best regards

James Stotz wrote:
Have a problem!!! Ebay sent me this notice and I really want these laptops
but 1300.00USD is a lot of money and I need to know for sure it a real deal.
I need some proof the I will get these items before I will be willing to pay
for them.
Thank You

Email message from eBay:
Note From Ebay

Dear James Stotz (jamesstz@hotmail.com),

Please be aware that auction:3418126904 -Gateway 450 Series Notebook +
Casual Carrying has been ended early and your bid has been cancelled. Please note
that we have recently ended all listings for the sellermel661as (Please Note not the user name of Robert Broaddus) it appears the account has been compromised and used by an unauthorized third party. The seller's privileges to trade on eBay may be temporarily suspended while we
investigate this matter further.

If this seller contacts you to complete a transaction outside of eBay, we
strongly recommend that you do not because it will not be covered under
Fraud Protection Program. If you have already sent payment, we advise you
take steps to protect yourself depending on the nature of your payment. For
example, if you paid by personal check, you may stop payment on the check.
you paid for this item with a credit card, you should contact your credit
company's security department right away to inform them of the potential
with this payment -- most companies provide full protection from loss for
purchases in these circumstances. If you have made a payment by money order
wire transfer, you may contact that company for further information at
1-800-325-6000 (Western Union), or at 1-800-926-9400 (Money Gram).

We emphasize that there is no definitive information regarding the seller or
their items at this time, and our difficulties in confirming information
the seller may be the result of a mistake or misunderstanding.

There are many tips on how to protect yourself with any Internet transaction
our help page located at:


If you have any questions, please reply directly to this email.

Customer Support (Trust and Safety Department)
eBay Inc



I understand you but I assure you that I am a honest man and a serious
person and I don't need any trouble for me and my
familly for any summ of money. The auction that you gave me(#3418126904) is not my auction.My ebay ID is : hoghead2570 .

You have my name and adress and I live in a country
with very hard laws and belive me I don't want to
go to jail .
Please belive me and trust me and we will make the
deal asap.You can check my feedbak on ebay.I am a serious member. I have over 36 transactions on ebay and all ended succesfuly.

All I can do is to go at UPS and start the papers for shipping.I will provide you the tracking number and I will send it to you to see that this deal is verry serious about my deals.
So please provide me the shipping address.
Please make the payment and we will close the deal asap.

Thank you

James Stotz wrote:
Hi Robert,
Ok I'll give you a chance. One of the Laptops is going to a lady I work with
and she is going to Ilaly this summer and she tells me she'll track you down
if anything wrong.
My Shipping address is:


I'll go to Western Union in the morning and get the money off to you.
Thank You


Ok ,

Email me when the payment is done.I will start the papers for shipping and all the documents for warranty.The warranty will came on your name :James L. Stotz .

Thank you

Robert Broaddus

James Stotz wrote:
I just don't feel comfortable buy these outside of ebay but it a great deal.
I'll take one and if all goes through. I'll get the other just to be on the
safe side. Six fifty is a lot less to lose than 1300. If the frist come
through with ease, how many can you get? I own a small Computer Support
Company and have 15 people on the road about 24/7 so these would come in
very handy and save me alot. I'll go to westren union today and email the
information to you.
Thank you



I am sorry if you think that you can lose some money.
Is your choice James.


James Stotz wrote:
I use to work very closely with Gateway. The company I worked for only used
their computers and I know the company very well. I know a way I will feel
very comfortable in buying them both. You said the you had access to the
computers at work so send me the Serial Numbers and I'll run a check on them
through Gateway they will be able to tell me were they are in the world and
when they were build and so on. It with only take me 10 minutes to verify
these numbers once I have them and I'll send the money that minute. I can
send it on line from my personal account.


I have acces on them only if i pay for them.
I have another surgestion and I think I can trust in you.

You send the money to another name than mine.YOu can
send the money to your name for example.After that I
check the money and if they are there I will send you
the items.After you get them and you check them you will go
to a western union office and change the receiver name
to my name so that I will be able to pick up the
So I am sure that you are a legitim buyer and you are
sure that I am not able to pick up the money.
If you send the money to your name here in Italy
nobody can pick it up.Or you can send the money to
your father's name or what name you chose.
I am sure that you will be satisfied.

Let me know asap to know what I have to do.


James Stotz wrote:
Hi Robert,
This I can live with. Ill send the wire transfer today.

James Stotz wrote:
Hi Robert,
I have sent the money Western Union MTCN #xxx-043-xxxx It's under my name
James Stotz. Thank you for working on this with me and e-mail or call if you
have any questions. My number is (512)4xx-1xx3 also please send the UPS
tracking information as soon as you can.
Please send the Laptops to:



OK I will send the packages today.I will reply you asap.


This is the last I heard from him. I thought, how could he get the money when Western Union assured me no one else would be able to pick up the fund unless they had proper ID and the answer to my test question which Id not given out to anyone. Boy was that a $1392.00 mistake. The $92.00 is what Western Union Charged me for the wire transfer.

Thank you in advance for anything you can do to prevent this from happening to anyone else.


Austin, Texas

Click here to read other Rip Off Reports on Western Union

This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 06/14/2003 10:14 PM and is a permanent record located here: http://www.ripoffreport.com/r/Western-Union/Bridgton-Missouri-63044/Western-Union-helps-internet-scammers-get-away-with-fraud-Bridgton-Missouri-60706. The posting time indicated is Arizona local time. Arizona does not observe daylight savings so the post time may be Mountain or Pacific depending on the time of year.

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Updates & Rebuttals

#1 Consumer Comment

Bet you thought they were stolen

AUTHOR: Tom - (U.S.A.)

I bet you thought they were stolen. The guy said he works at Best Buy. So why would he be selling these himself rather than through the company? Who cares if he has kids or not. But the clincher for me is when he says he is an honest man. Guess who says that - the dishonest ones. Anyway, you got screwed on your own greed.
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#2 Consumer Suggestion

It's the old saying: a fool and his money are soon parted.

AUTHOR: Paul - (U.S.A.)

If you do stupid things, you absolutely will lose. No if, ands, or buts about it!

And, you will keep right on losing until either your money runs out, or you wise up.

Are you sick and tired of getting cheated over and over again?

Then, start using some common sense. Walk into a store like a normal person. Pay the going price for the things you need.

That way, you end up with a computer.

Or, you can keep trying to find one for half price.

That way, you end up with nothing at all.

It's your choice.

Either a real computer for the normal price, or nothing at all for half price.
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#3 Consumer Suggestion

C'Mon, Dont Blame Western Union

AUTHOR: Pat - (U.S.A.)

Your mistake in dealing with a "too-good-to-be-true" deal which you openly admitted in the early emails, is not Western Unions fault. Western Union does not co-operate with scam artists. You contacted the scam artist, drove to the Western Union site, and began the transaction. You should have know you were playing with fire, Italy? The low price? Dont tell them what its for or Ill have to pay a tax????? You were playing with fire, and followed the suggestion the scam artist gave you about sending it to yourself in Italy.

Some constructive advice for the future...Beware of anyone selling anything on the Internet from another country, and demanding bank-wire funds. I get about 200 emails per day offering some type of deal, the scam artists only need a very small percentage of folks to fall for it, and they make money.
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