Scam Alert

Man Recovers $95,000 After Falling for Wire-Transfer Scam

An NBC 7 Responds story helped one family get back almost $95,000

NBC Universal, Inc.

People online, over the phone, and in your mailbox are all trying to scam you out of your money. Sometimes those scams can cost you big, but NBC 7 Responds helped one man recover his lost cash.

"The letter said you'd won second price in the sweepstakes," said Paul Hynes, whose father was scammed. "It didn't say what sweepstakes or where it was from."

The letter told his father that he was the winner of $250,000, but he'd have to pay some processing fees first. So Hynes' father went to Western Union to send the money needed to get his winnings.

"It was all by telephone once he returned the phone call," Hynes said. "They got his phone number, and he was contacted exclusively by telephone from that point forward."

The people on the other end of the line talked Hynes' 85-year-old father into transferring them money for 44 days in a row. Over that time, he sent them more than $91,000.

"I was really shocked that my father could fall for this," Hynes said. "He believed someone on the end of the phone that he'd never met more than he believed his own children."

Hynes even works as a financial planner, but his father still wouldn't listen.

"He called the people on the other end of the line jokers," Hynes said. "I said, 'Dad, they're not jokers. They're criminals.' "

The family thought there was no chance they would ever recover the money their father lost, but then they saw a story NBC 7 Responds ran back in 2018.

"Consumer Bob told us about the Department of Justice and the case against Western Union," Hynes said.

The DOJ accused Western Union of turning a blind eye to the scams that relied on their services. As part of a settlement, Western Union set aside more than $580 million to compensate victims.

That story prompted Hynes' wife to enter a claim with Western Union on behalf of his father.

"That was about two years ago, and just last week my father received a check," said Hynes. "It was a little more than $91,000."

Hynes still can't believe that the money wasn't gone for good or that the company let the wire transfers go through.

"They saw him go into the store and send a wire 44 days in a row -- an 85-year-old man," Hynes said. "We're taking care of all his finances. He knows we're going to be able to take care of that for him."

Hynes' father is now in his 90s and lives near Boston. He couldn't believe that he was able to get the money back.

"My sister brought the check to him before she brought it to the bank," Hynes said. "She showed it to him, and I'm sure he teared up a little bit."

Hynes has since started a blog called Seniors Safe & Sound in the hopes of preventing other people from falling victim to scams like his father did.

"Stay on alert, stay vigilant," Hynes said. "The scammers, the criminals, will never give up, and once they get their hooks into someone, they will never give up until all the money is gone."

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