Federal Trade Commission

01/27/2021 | News release | Distributed by Public on 01/27/2021 20:45

FTC cases returned $483 million to people in 2020

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January 27, 2021
Bridget Small
Consumer Education Specialist, FTC

You may know the FTC for its consumer information, and for taking action against shady companies that violate the law. But did you know the FTC returns millions of dollars to people as a result of those actions? In fact, last year, 1.7 million people nationwide and in 64 countries received payments totaling $483 million because of the FTC's enforcement actions. People got refunds resulting from more than 50 FTC cases. The most money - around $300 million - went back to about 142,000 people because of a settlement with Western Union.

When the FTC sends refunds, it usually uses customer lists and contact information it gets from the defendants. If that information isn't available, the agency may ask people to file a claim or use its Consumer Sentinel database to find people who are eligible for a refund. The database includes reports people make to the FTC, Better Business Bureaus, and federal, state, and local law enforcement offices. When you report a scam or fraud, you may help law enforcement, and yourself. For example, many people who reported sending money to lottery, romance, sweepstakes or other online scammers through Western Union got full refunds in 2020.

The FTC will never require you to pay fees in advance, or ask for sensitive information, like your bank account information. If someone contacts you and says they're from the FTC but they want you to send money, it's a scam. Even if they claim to be FTC Chairman Joe Simons - like some scammers have - if they ask for money, it's a scam.

Check out the list of recent cases that led to refunds, and who to contact with questions, at And explore details of the refund program with the FTC's interactive dashboards, which let you look at refunds by year or by case. The dashboards can tell you how many people got refunds, where checks were sent, and how much money went to people in a specific state or country.

Blog Topics:
Money & Credit
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Jc man| January 27, 2021
  • reply

Hi.I was scammed out of 10,000 dollars in 2005,around January,I believe.When I reported it to the FBI,Iwas under the impression it was 4ever lost.I took a 2nd mortgage to pay for the lost funds.Is it possible to get any of that money back?I was deceived by cashing counterfeit money orders that I thought was legit.....John B

russelldonna46| January 27, 2021
  • reply

Western union did not refund me money that was sent to Legos Nigeria that was a scam.

Don't use your ...| January 27, 2021
  • reply

As I'm just finding out about this I'm wondering since I was scammed out of money via romance scam using Western Union and MoneyGram Is there any way to still participate in this program? I lost money in 2016 and 17.

FTC Staff| January 27, 2021
  • reply

The deadline to file a claim was May 31, 2018. The Department of Justice (DOJ) plans to provide a way for people to apply for refunds in the future. When there is information about how to apply, DOJ will post it on the Western Union Remission(link is external) site.

The FTC has more information at

Scambuster2018| January 27, 2021
  • reply

I got defrauded by IRS Impersonation Scam back in 2018 big time, and I reported to FTC, IRS, and my retirement account TIAA. I talked to the investigators from each TIAA and IRS. I lost nearly $200K of my retirement money, yet no one has actually helped me so far to retrieve my money and I am getting so desperate.

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