(Photo shows one of the Western Union outlets in the Philippines)
This appears to be the case as reflected by an account given today, Sept. 16, by mother and son victims to DZRH radio station.
The son, who works in Micronesia, spoke about sending US$5,000 (about 220,000 pesos) to her mother in the Philippines.
But by the time she went to a Western Union branch designated as collection point by her son, the money has already been collected by somebody else who presented the necessary identification cards and remittance reference number.
Due to their failure to get adequate assistance from Western Union, they decided to lodge a formal complaint in person to the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI).
“We were shown by the NBI the numerous complaints that they’ve received from other complainants like us,” Aling Teresa told DZRH host Deo Macalma.
“We were told by the NBI that it’s a big problem and there’s a syndicate that’s victimizing OFWs who are remitting money to the Philippines,” she said.
They were told users of MoneyGram services have the same problem.
It appears that getting back the money that the mother and son lost will be extremely difficult.
“The NBI told us that they will get the CCTV footage of that Western Union outlet to try and identify the people who collected my son’s remittance to me. But even if they see the face of the culprit or culprits, determining their real identity is another problem,” she said.
Macalma said that while Western Union and MoneyGram are well-established companies, the use of some of their partners in the Philippines may not be safe.
Thus, it may be safer for OFWs to use Philippine banks as they have better safeguards than other forms of sending money to the country, he said.