While you may be flattered to receive an email that’s purportedly from Maureen Ohlhausen, the acting chairman of the Federal Trade Commission, we’ve got to break it to you: She isn’t going to email you, and even if she did, she would definitely not ask you for your bank account information.
The FTC is warning folks about a recent scam after some people reported getting an email that claims to be from Ohlhausen, asking for financial details in exchange for a chunk of the government’s $586 million settlement with Western Union.
Although there is a settlement in the works, the U.S. Department of Justice will run the refund process, not the FTC. That process has yet to begin.
If you spot an email like this in your inbox, don’t reply or click on any links it may contain. Instead, forward it to the FTC at @spam.uce.gov.
This is not the only avenue scammers are taking to try to swindle people in the name of this settlement: Earlier this year, the FTC had to warn those eligible for a refund that they shouldn’t send penny to anyone who promises to help them their refund from Western Union.
Eligible customers will be anyone who sent a wire transfer through Western Union between Jan. 1, 2004 and Jan. 19, 2017, and was defrauded. Customers who made reports to Western Union should receive a form with the information about the transaction and their losses already filled out — but again, it won’t come from the FTC, as the DOJ is in charge of refunds. Here’s the official refund site.
The FTC’s role is to shut down scams and get people their money back. But in those efforts, it will never ask for money, your Social Security number, or any banking information so you can apply for a refund or cash a check.