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Zoey_ JD
Zoey_ JD, JustAnswer Criminal Law Mentor
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 27434
Experience:  Admitted to NYS Criminal defense bar in 1989. Extensive arraignment, hearing, trial experience.
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Is it safe to send money through western union? I have an

Customer Question

Is it safe to send money through western union? I have an online friend who's been dealt a rough hand; she was arrested and in jail for a month.. now she's out and homeless. I'm just worried about her getting my information (personal, banking, etc) or my name being mixed up in something illegal. (I'm in MA, she's in TX)
Submitted: 10 months ago.
Category: Criminal Law
Expert:  Zoey_ JD replied 10 months ago.


I'm Zoey and I'll be assisting you. I'm reviewing your question now. Please be patient while I compose a reply for you.

Expert:  Zoey_ JD replied 10 months ago.

The general rule of thumb is that you should never send a payment via Western Union or MoneyGram unless it is to a person you actually know very, very well or to a business you have traded with successfully before when paying by other means.

That's a long way of saying that you're asking for trouble by sending payment via Western Union to any online "friend." Online friends are all strangers until you actually meet in person and can confirm that they are who they really say they are. Payment via Western Union or MoneyGram is irreversible and offers you absolutely no buyer protection, if your so called friend is just a scammer with a slick hard luck story.

Apart from that, of course, the recipient of your Western Union Payment only needs the MCTN number to receive the money. She would not learn your bank account details.

Frankly, however, if you are worried that you may be doing something illegal, then you clearly don't know your friend well enough to be sending her money. A money request from an online acquaintance with whom you have never developed a real time, in-person committed relationship is the #1 sign of a scam. And sending money to a scammer is laundering money.

Customer: replied 10 months ago.
The person didn't ask me for money - I'm the one who wanted to help her.. I just wasn't sure if it was safe to do so.
Expert:  Zoey_ JD replied 10 months ago.

Western Union has been around for a long time and they are safe to use in the sense that your money will get there. However, as I said above, it's always a bad idea to send money to a stranger. If you're ripped off by your so-called friend, you're not going to be able to recover from Western Union.

If that's not a concern of yours, Western Union will not be giving your recipient your bank or credit information.