Western Union and The Big Fraud

Note Date 201702326

Western Union. Where I can easily send money to the far reaches of the world. Unless I'm trying to conduct business domestically.

Cash for Keys. It's part of the business. You spend some money to speed up the legal process and avoid some vandalism too. We all do it and it's a strong tool to have in your bag of tricks. The last few months, I've been using Western Union to pay for the transactions. I'll pay $250 to sign the release of contract, or deed in lieu, and I'll pay the rest of the offer once my realtor gives me the thumbs up after inspecting the property. With Western Union, I can sit at my desk and create the transaction. However, I like to go to the bank and draw the cash out, drive over to the Western Union near my house, complete the transaction, and grab one of my favorite tacos at the taqueria. I'm always looking for an excuse for a taco. I'm done. The other parties shows up anywhere in that state with an ID and they get their money. I'd say it is as easy as pie, but I find pie to be complicated. It's as easy as a taco.

Well, that has been a pretty good way for me to do my Cash for Keys. Until a couple of weeks ago. Western Union wanted me to call their hotline before they would authorize my latest transaction. So I called up the number and talked to a lady who couldn't pronounce my name. And my name is Adam in case you were not aware. She asked me a few questions. Do I know this person, are they related to me, etc.. No, I answered. I had her identity verified with a notary when she signed my documents. She lives in the house that I own. I'm quite confident that I'm good here. The customer service rep put me on hold for a few minutes. When she came back, she told me they were denying this transaction. The borrower that I am paying has been flagged for fraudulent behavior and they are not comfortable sending money to her. They refunded my money. I just had to go back to the Western Union, with the taqueria, and give them the tracking number and my ID and I'd get my cash back. OK, fine. It's the way it is.

So I went back to the taqueria for lunch and hit the Western Union once my belly was satisfied. I took my money back to the bank. Then I wait to find out how this borrower wants to be paid and where to send the money.

Now to enjoy one of the first days of Spring. Steve at Polaris Counselors, the borrower outreach and loss mitigation service that I use, shoots me an email telling me that a different borrower wasn't able to pick up his Western Union. What? No way. I received an email saying it was ready to be picked up. So I call the Western Union number and get another rep. They can't pronounce my name either. Before it was nothing, but now I'm a little piffed. How hard is it to pronounce my name? I no longer think that I am dealing with an American-based call center. I talked to the rep and she informed me that the transaction was cancelled. Why? The receiver's name was flagged for fraud. What? Two in one day? Possible, but very improbable. Let me speak to your boss, I said. And I get bumped up the chain. Yet another guy who cannot pronounce my name. Geeez. I told him that something is amiss because they have cancelled two of my transactions in one day. He asked me several questions and put me on hold and after a few minutes got back to me and told me that they think I am a victim of fraud and that they were protecting me. What? No, no. You guys need to understand what I am doing. I'm the one initiating the transaction. I am paying these people for business. "Yes we understand, but we are protecting you and cannot let these transactions proceed."

Thanks, I appreciate it, but I do not need your protection.

"Yes we understand, but we are protecting you and cannot let these transactions proceed."

I don't think you understand at all. What part of the transaction makes you think that I am victim of fraud?

"We cannot tell you that. Otherwise those that are attempting to defraud people will know how to avoid detection."

You have to be kidding me. Anyways, I could go on, but this is where I turned into one of those people that my wife hopes that no one ever sees. I pretty much lost it with the folks that cannot pronounce my name and then spent the next hour huffing and puffing and getting Cashier's Checks ready for the mail.

So no more Western Union. There is no moral to this story. It's just a rant.