Fred Haines, 77, will get back the six figure sum that he wired between 2005 and 2008 to scammers who had promised him $64 million in inheritance from a Nigerian prince, if only he could pay the fake fees to move the money.
Last year, Western Union admitted in a settlement with the Federal Trade Commission to knowingly looking the other way regarding employees who had been helping scammers to steal the money of its customers, including Haines.
A $586 million fund was created to pay back victims, throughout the US and Canada.
When Haines first heard about the settlement fund, he was optimistic he’d get his refund.
‘I thought, man, $580 million, yeah I should be able to get a little bit of that,’ he told the Kansas City Star.
The scammers first made contact with Haines through his Yahoo! email account in 2005.
‘They started off with saying I was going to inherit $64 million, and right away I thought “this is kind of a joke, or it’s a scam,”‘ Haines said, of his initial reaction before he was duped.
‘Those Nigerians know how to talk.’
Haines shared that the prospect sounded too good to be true, but after investing so much time and money, it became too difficult to believe it was all a lie.’
‘It got to the point where they were showing me that the President of Nigeria had sent me a letter. It had his picture on it and everything,’ Haines said.
‘I looked it up on the computer to see what the Nigerian president looked like, and it was him.’
Haines kept one email which appeared as if it was signed by Robert Mueller, who at that time was the director of the FBI, and called Haines ‘B-DOG’ as a code name.
That email read, in part: ‘I wish you can remove doubt and suspicious and go ahead I assured you that you will never regret this fund release.’
Today, this kind of thing seems hard to imagine happening with all the publicity these kinds of scams have gotten, but Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt noted, [‘T]he reason that scammers keep doing the same thing is that they’re making money at it.’
Over the course of three years, Haines remortgaged his home three times and was even left wandering around the Wichita Airport waiting for a supposed Nigerian man with suitcases full of of cash, before he realized the promised money wasn’t going to show up.
After the settlement was reached, the only people who knew about it were those who had already complained to law enforcement, or reached out directly to Western Union.
Schmidt wasn’t OK with that, so he sent out a news release, but still worried the information wouldn’t reach everyone who had been swindled.
That’s when members of his team contacted Western Union themselves to get a list of who might be eligible for a refund, including all Kansas residents who had sent large sums of money and any who had sent any sums of any amount to certain high-risk countries.
Culled from Mail Online