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Fraud issue with Western Union for AdSense Publishers




Most AdSense Publishers in the Philippines would use Western Union to pick up their earnings because it’s the fastest and most convenient method. However, based on recent experience, it’s also the most un-secure and prone to fraud. Just the other day, someone claimed my AdSense earnings via Western Union and got thru.

This isn’t the first time this kind of MO happened and it isn’t an isolated case either. A number of local publishers (and bloggers) has had their Adsense revenues wiped out thru Western Union in the past.

In my case, I was out of the country (flying in from Jakarta actually) last March 1 when someone cashed out my AdSense account thru Western Union. When I dropped by today to pick it up, I got the bad news and the local branch I went to could not do anything.

My initial hunch was that it was an inside job — someone from the WU agent has access to records (specifically the MTCN). The first time I picked up my AdSense from this new branch (the old branch I usually go to for years, the one in Park Square 1, is already closed) near the house, I gave my credentials and ID (passport).


 

Those personal information and identification, along with access to the system for MTCN is all they need to cash out. The security flaw could be the ff:

– All WU agents have access to the MTCN. They can just do a reverse look-up (search for the name and then look for corresponding MTCN for that name).

– WU agents have network access to customer information. Anyone can pull it up and share it with an outsider to pose as the customer.

– WU agents are not very strict with regards to verification. Not sure if they have access to the soft copy of the photo ID.

These type of incidents put Western Union in a very bad light. Even if the culprit is just one of their agents, it’s still a huge security hole and will certainly reflect on customers’ trust on the service.

I’ve reported this fraud to Google’s Support and sought the help of a friend who works there. Frankly, I’m more interested to get to the bottom of this, find the lapse in security and figure out who the culprits are.



Abe is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of YugaTech. You Can follow him on Twitter @abeolandres.

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52 Responses

  1. Kenz says:

    Depende ba yan sa branch? Balak ko pa naman magpa-cash out sa WU thru adsense din…

    • yuga says:

      Not exactly the branch but more of the Agent. There are many WU agents in the Philippines — pawnshops, couriers, remittance companies. Even if the branch is clean and secure, other branches or the main office will still have access to those information.

  2. Abiel says:

    mag kano kaya nakuha? hmmm… :)

    Seriously… kakapanghina naman yun… since pinag trabahuhan mo din naman yun sir, the problem is that WU… don’t have extra security that you can avail if incase you want to transact with them. Siguro mas secure pa din yung naka checke… yun nga lang matagal sya..

  3. Adam Parnala says:

    That’s bad news. I think an inside job is the only way they could do that.

  4. Nomer says:

    Sir yuga kayo lang po ang nakakaalam ng MTCN, To get Money Transfer in WU in the Philippines mandatory po ang MTCN. Kahit WU agent ay hindi alam ang mga MTCN kahit may record na si customer sa kahit saan WU agent. Without MTCN hindi makaka receive si customer. In your case you should call WU customer service in the Philippines, Report your complain to 1-800-1-888-1200. Hindi po ito inside job. Bakit ko po alam, Sa no 1. WU agent po ako nagtratrabaho dito sa Philippines South east asia.

  5. anOnymous says:

    they should have records, be it cctv or computer to know who is responsible

  6. darren philip mozo says:

    Dis is not the firat time i’ve read about this… hala. Ganyan dn ung situation. Out of country pa ung blogger tpos nung mag cash out n siya may nag claim n daw using her name… nakalimutan q lng kung kninong blog ko nabasa e. Tsk tsk western union

  7. Dazed_32 says:

    Been using western union for some time to pay for small online purchases. Let’s wait and see what WU has to say.

  8. josep says:

    Yari Western Union dito, sikat tong blog na ‘to , milyon makaka basa nito.

  9. Dave says:

    minsan ang modus is sasabihin na cashout na. Siyempre pagalis ng customer saka lang i-wiwithdraw ng agent.. tsktsktsk

    • yuga says:

      I was shown their PC screen with the status of paid.

      I logged in to my AdSense account and it also stated the the money was claimed March 1.

  10. Curio says:

    @Dave Posibleng ganyan nga ang nangyare.

  11. Mark Llego says:

    Nangyari ito sa kaibigan ko last year ang culprit is keylogger. Ang nag cashout may access sa gmail niya. Ang matindi hindi daw gumagana ang CCTV sa Western Union that time. .kaya hindi nakilala ang salarin.

  12. Curio says:

    They always ask me for an ID every time pero I’m not if they verify the face. If they do, ibigsabihin kamuka ni Ser Yuga yung nagclaim.

  13. Edson says:

    Bad Publicity for Western Union.. S

    @sir yuga – sayang naman ung western union kasi ang higpit nila tapos may ganito pa din na nagyayari. Ako kukuha lang ako ng copy ng resibo sa kanila hiningan pa ko ng affidavit of loss saka police report samantalang andami naman palang loopholes sa sistema nila..pinahirapan pa ko.

  14. alex says:

    Sir Yuga you can ask to add a security question, every time you pick up the cash aside from MTCN kailangan mo ring i-verify yung security question at answer…. atleast next time, i reklamo mo mismo sa WU, malalaman nila kung agent fraud yan or hindi, madami ng case na ganyan…

  15. joan perea says:

    mabilis nga magpadala mabilis din mawala pera mo.

  16. Alwell says:

    Dang! so may ganito pala. Hmmm scary to especially big funds. Kaya minsan whether you need the money or not dapat talaga e cashout as soon as lumabas ang payout from adsense.

  17. Deric says:

    naku nadali ka rin pala. remember your advise sa pinoy bloggers facebook page? I thought secured checks na gamit mo.

    pero tama ka, mas maganda talaga malaman kung paano nangyayari to sa western union. marami na ang nagiging biktima.

    update nung sa akin. nakuha ko rin nman after 2 weeks with the help of our account manager from google singapore.

  18. meh says:

    Contact western union corporate. (not in the philippines) and Report the issue.

  19. Nald says:

    Awww! Sayang, natakot tuloy ako kahit na minimum lang kinikita ko. Better gawan ng paraan ng WU tungkol dito. Naghihintay ka ng 1 month para sa kinita mo tas kukunin lang ng iba. Pero paano kaya nila nagawa yun no? So meron silang pinakitang ID sa pagclaim ng money? Tsk!

  20. Francel200 says:

    nako yan ang masama sana walang ganyan dito sa branch ng WU sa amin nakaabot na ako sa minimum ng adsense makakakuha nako next month.

  21. Grabe!

    Pwede pala mangyari ‘to.. Pano na kung pro-blogger ka tapos one of your main sources ay AdSense.. tsktsk..

  22. Zion says:

    Grabeh naman nito! Kahit western union, may mga security flaws. They really should patch this up!

  23. kusina101 says:

    ouch. i’m also using WU for claiming my payments from adsense. dapat mapa-tulfo/imbestigador to. sir yuga, di ba mattrace kung saang branch na-encash yung pera? at kung sino ang naka-pirma sa encashment? pero malaki ang posibilidad na inside job nga yan. kasi pag kumukuha ako ng pera kailangan yung may picture na ID ang ipresent ko.

  24. roiji says:

    may mga blog post din akong nababasa na nawithdaw yung pera nila by someone who uses fake Postal IDs…
    WU internal policy issues should be strengthened…

  25. Western union should do something about this one. How will the people trust them if they have this kind of flaw.

  26. Hideki says:

    aww.. grabe naman yun. -___- pati si sir aED din pala. watch mode ako sa isyu na to. sana mahuli nga. damn, katakot.

  27. Zoan says:

    Baka same branch kayo? Baka pwede i reklamo sa nbi yan?

  28. Juan says:

    Dapat ireport yan sa NBI para maimbestigahan. Kung sino man ung nagclaim ng earnings mo, kasalanan pa rin ng western union yan, di nila isecure ung sistema nila…

  29. Bon says:

    uh-ohh, google might disable the WU cashout option! wag naman sana..

    • Nald says:

      Wag naman sana. Suggest ko na lang na kunin na lang agad agad kapag binigay na ang MTCN. Wag ng palampasin ang isang araw pa.

  30. kusina101 says:

    we should spread this article in all social media. this is very alarming. andami na palang kasong ganito at di man lang inaaksyunan ng WU. they should take the blame on this. dapat kasama sila sa makasuhan.

  31. aED says:

    Yup! We should spread this on social media para mabigyan ng aksyon at mahuli yun mga gumagawa nito.

  32. Alwell says:

    Si aED nakita nya ang form kung paano na cashout. Tama point nya paano nangyari halos magkamuha ang signature ? Kung puro online issue to dapat wala silang way para maging similiar ng signature. More or less they have seen aED signature somewhere like from the WU branch mismo o kung saan man inistore ang copy ng form pinipirmanhan natin adsense users. Hmmmm palalim ng palalim na to.

  33. yuji says:

    WU Vice President Patricia Zamora Riingen (sister of blogger Cecile Zamora Van Straten of Chuvaness) should hear this issue on WU.

  34. Loisel says:

    Sir Please Pa share kung may update. ganto din nangyari sakin. di ko nakuha agad, nung kukunin ko na nung monday march 4, sabi na paid na daw nung march 2. $15,000 po ung nakuha samin.

    Sa Aguirre Pawnshop namin huling kinuha ung payment nung January.

    Nag try kami sa NBI pero inadvice lang kami na gumawa ng letter sa Western union para makuha yung information kung sinong nag withdraw ng pera then saka daw kami mag complain. Ewan, Labo!

  35. aED says:

    @Loisel nagpunta rin kami sa NBI nag fill up na kami ng complaint form tapos babalik pa kami sa monday para ifollowup.

    Malabo nga ang sabi sayo ng NBI dahil hindi ka talaga bibigyan ng WU dapat talaga yun NBI ang hihingi ng info sa WU.

    I bet kaya pinapahingi sayo yung info sa western union ay para malaman nila kung sino ang kakasuhan eh ang info naman dun ay yung name mo rin so useless din yun. Yan kasi din ang sabi nila samin kasi di nila alam kung sino ang kakasuhan.

    Ang problema kasi dito mukhang hindi alam ng mga authorities kung ano ang gagawin sa case natin. Nagpunta na kami sa CIDG at NBI pero mukhang walang mangyayari. Pag wala talaga mangyayari sa case ilalapit na namin sa media.

    Email me at admin at pinoyden dot com para join forces tayo. Mas mapipilitan kasi silang gumawa ng action pag mas marami ang complaints.

  36. Mrs. Kolca says:

    Oh my! I just got my payment today tho available sya last week pa. Kinabahan nga ako kasi ngayon ko lang sya nakuha ng late na. Nabasa ko din yun case ni Jenny Aspacio so I know may fraud talaga sa WU. Shame on them! Di ko nakuha agad ang payment ko for some reason. Next time talaga, I will get my pay the same day!!

    Good luck sa mga mapa-file ng case against WU. Tama lang na mag-join forces kayo. Mas marami mas magand. If you guys won’t act now, I am sure these things will happen over and over again in the future!!

    • aED says:

      I no longer trust Western Union. I already changed my payment method to “Check – Secured Express Delivery” I don’t mind the additional processing fee and waiting time since I believe it is safer than using Western Union.

      Our payment was actually taken just 1 hour before we arrived at the Western Union location. So even if kunin mo yung payment mo the same day there is still that chance na mauunahan ka ng mga yun.

      Ito pa another interesting post to read: http://www.selaplana.com/2012/07/20/western-money-union-scam/ just scroll to the update part.

  37. RL Quito says:

    Hala, palala na ng palala nangyayari, dami na scam a iba iba modus, halos every week nlng may bagong modus…

    Better to get the money asap siguro after maissue ung MTCN number

  38. Ako mas pinili ko po yong paypal although matagal ang process pinaka safe I guess…

    Sana magkaroon ng iba pang paraan para makuha ang AdSense earning…

    Anglaki siguro ng nakuha sayo Sir Abe? :D

  39. kent says:

    Hello kuya Abe, we have the same issue and it happened on the same date too, it was picked up on March 1.

    I’ve contacted google and they have escalated an investigation. I have also called WU support and they said that it will take 21 days.

    How about yours? What’s the update with your issue? Are you able to withdraw the money? Any progress?

    God speed! Hope you’ll reply

  40. I am almost on the payment threshold of Google adsense, and reading this entry makes me feel worried about WU payout method. Dapat aksyunan iyan ng Western Union din mismo, kasi pangalan mismo ng WU ang sisirain nila.

    For those who are filing complaints, we support you. Pwede namang kasuhan mismo yung western union branch, iyon ipalagay nyo sa information – dapat as a branch handling money, they should exercise extraordinary diligence in handling these kind of transactions. Just like in fraud cases in bank checks where the check owner’s signature is forged, the bank is still liable for not exercising due diligence. Same with these kind of branches. There are information that are available only between the WU branch and the customer. When this info is divulged without consent or used for fraud, the branch itself may be held liable. Tsaka may pinapakitang id sa kanila diba? dpat alam nila kung pano maginspect ng mga ganung IDs. Violation of Art 19, 20, 21, and 22 of the Phil Civil Code yan; panglalamang iyan.

    Sana bigyan din ito ng media mileage with Sir Abe’s help; masakit mang aminin, pero ang authorities natin minsan di alam ang gagawin, bigla na lang malalaman ang solusyon pag nagkaroon ng “exposure’ sa media.

  41. Hmm grabe naman! Baka sindikato na yan! nakakita ng opportunity sa security flaw ng WU.. bad news ito para sa mga google adsense earner at sa mismong Western Union..sana maayos!

  42. yahoo is the best website for all of your internet needs!

  43. jehzlau says:

    May resolution na ba case na to? nahuli na culprit? O.o

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