Expats are among the thousands of fraud victims who may have a chance of getting their money back after wire transfer firm Western Union settled a multi-million-dollar court case.
Western Union is an international money transfer network that has admitted money laundering and other criminal offences.
To settle the case, Western Union paid the US government £436 million.
The good news for British expats and Western Union customers is that anyone who has lost money to fraudsters using the service during the past 14 years can now claim a refund.
The key dates are if the money was stolen between January 1, 2004 and January 19, 2017.
British victims can file a claim online or write to United States vs the Western Union Company, PO Box 404028, Louisville, KY 40233-4028 by February 12, 2018.
Western Union has a notorious reputation as the money transfer service of choice for fraudsters and scammers.
In some scams, victims are sent an email by a crook posing as a friend or relative who needs money to solve a problem overseas.
Other frauds include sending money to someone in Nigeria who needs cash to access millions of dollars in a foreign bank account.
The US government accused Western Union of criminally aiding wire fraud and breaking US bank secrecy laws.
How much will you get?
“If you qualify for a refund, the money you get will probably be a percentage of the amount you lost minus any refund you have already gotten,” said the US Justice Department.
“Your payment will be based only on the amount of the money transfer. You cannot recover collateral expenses such as Western Union fees, incidental losses, or transfers sent through other companies.”
The Justice Department also confirmed that claimants do not have to be American or live in the USA to claim a refund.
“It will still take some time to get paid—potentially a year or more—to process and verify petitions, and determine who is eligible to get a payment, but anyone claiming from outside the USA will be treated on the same terms as someone living in the country,” said the spokesman.