Victims of 'Nigerian scam' gangs could claim money back

Thousands of fraud victims tricked into handing over their life savings could be able to claim their lost money back.

Money transfer firm Western Union has been forced by US regulators to put $586million (£435million) in a fund for scam victims after admitting ‘aiding and abetting wire fraud’ in January.

Anyone – including those in the UK – who was conned into giving money to fraudsters via Western Union between January 1, 2004, and January 19 this year can apply for a share of the cash.

Money Transfer firm Western Union has been forced by US regulators to pay £435 million into a fund for victims of scams between January 1, 2004 and January 19 2017

Money Transfer firm Western Union has been forced by US regulators to pay £435 million into a fund for victims of scams between January 1, 2004 and January 19 2017

Many victims received letters or emails from criminals seeking bank details or looking for cash in order to facilitate the transfer of major funds from an international account 

Many victims received letters or emails from criminals seeking bank details or looking for cash in order to facilitate the transfer of major funds from an international account 

Common scams include romance fraud, where the lonely are groomed on dating websites by crooks using fake profiles, and begging emails that appear to come from relatives abroad claiming to have had an accident and need emergency cash.

Another con, nicknamed the ‘Nigerian prince scam’, involves victims being sent an email claiming to be from a rich foreign dignitary, asking to help them transfer money out of the

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