Did you lose money to a scammer who had you pay using Western Union between January 1, 2004 and January 19, 2017? If so, you can now ask for your money back – and you have until February 12, 2018 to file your claim.

Halton Borough Council Trading Standards officers found out local residents are eligible.

The Federal Trade Commission in the USA has reached a settlement with Western Union to return $586 million to its customers who have lost money to scammers.

Western Union had received 550,000 complaints about money transfers made for scam lotteries and prize draws, advance fee loans and online dating.

Halton Trading Standards contacted the Federal Trade Commission which confirmed that UK residents are entitled to file a claim.

If you have sent money to a scammer using Western Union then you could get a partial refund (the $586 million will be shared amongst all claimants) by completing the online claim for at this address http://www.ftc.gov/WU

Halton Borough Council’s Executive Board Member for Trading Standards, Cllr Dave Cargill, said: ” You do not have to pay to get your money back. Don’t pay anyone who says they can file a claim for you.

“Nobody will ever call you to ask for your bank account or credit card number. It’s free to file your claim form, and you can only do it online or by mail. Find the claim form and the only real address that accepts claims at FTC.gov/WU. “

It will take up to a year to validate all the claims it gets and return money to people.

If you are a Halton resident and need help to file the claim, please contact one of our specialist officers, Linda or Sue, on 0151 511 8785 or 0151 511 8775, who are already working with people in Halton who have lost thousands of pounds to scams.

If you need advice on anything else please contact the Citizens Advice Consumer Helpline