Sunday, April 22, 2012

Inside Job in Western Union: Are They Really as Secure as They Say They Are?

Here is real life situation but I did not name names to protect the identities of parties concerned - a certain sender sends money via a remittance facility (Western Union). The intended recipient visits one of the Western Union branches to collect the money but is surprised by the news that the money has already been collected four days ago. Since the intended recipient did not collect the money four days ago, the only possible explanations are either somebody intercepted the important details which is not possible because the sender and the recipient has been doing this for more than two years every month and the process of sending info are really secure, or somebody inside Western Union had access to the information like the MTCN and the amount expected - who else could have known that in this particular case.

In this Western Union case I am talking about, I have so much reason to believe that it was an inside job  in Western Union because when I saw the transaction slip used for the erroneous withdrawal, the amount written on the amount expected field had already deductions for the documentary stamp tax. And who else would have known the deducted amount but a Western Union agent, not the recipient. As a person who has transacted with Western Union many times, what I understand is that when making a withdrawal, the MTCN has to be 100% correct and the amount expected must also be 100% correct, down to the last centavo (aside of course from the proper IDs presented). If these two information are not accurate then the transaction must be suspected as fraudulent, based on my own opinion.

But why does Western Union not act upon disputes by recipients? They refer to the legal term "privity of contract" which means that only parties to contracts (in this case, the sender and Western Union only) should be able to sue to enforce their rights or claim damages. The implication of this is that the true, intended recipient,who may not have any Treasury Management training even if Western Union commits the mistake of allowing a withdrawal made by a wrong recipient (usually fraudulent), cannot take any legal action against Western Union since their accountability is primarily to the sender.

I personally think that this can add security for the sender but is very inconvenient and unfair to a recipient. Western Union must be held accountable for their negligence especially when there is much reason to believe that fraudulent or erroneous transactions are made by dishonest insiders. This can lead to a pattern or even become a "modus operandi" by Western Union employees, agents or insiders. Just my two cents.



jade said...

its so disappointing. Pag naging public tong issue na'to, masisira ang kredibilidad ng western union. dapat silang kasuhan.

Pinoy said...

This problem is still going on

Jeff said...

With how WU dealt with the problem when we were victimized, I'm not surprised that it's still going on.