Banking & Finance Crime and Security Jamaican Diaspora Jamaican/Caribbean Diaspora

Western Union Takes on Jamaican Lottery Scammers!

Western Union Takes on Jamaican Lottery Scammers!

Curtis A. Ward

Ambassador Curtis Ward

Ambassador Curtis Ward

(11 Jan. 2017) — I went to Western Union (WU) yesterday (January 10, 2017) and sent some money to Jamaica. Upon handing me my receipt the agent gave me a number to call WU to answer a few questions before the money transfer would be completed. You can well imagine my consternation and immediate reaction.

However, on calling WU the first question to me was whether my money transfer was in response to a lottery and the purpose of the transfer.  I was then asked about my relationship with the recipient.  My purpose certainly was not lottery scam-related.  As to my relationship with the recipient, I felt that it bordered on privacy rights encroachment.

Nevertheless, I understood the objective of the restrictive process implemented by WU and the questions asked. I was fully cooperative. My funds were sent without a hitch.

I couldn’t resist asking some questions of my own. I learnt that this newly introduced process by WU in 2017 was part of the company’s cooperation with law enforcement to prevent Americans from being scammed by Jamaicans. I fully support any effort to end this lottery scam scourge on our country.


Lottery Scam is not a Money-tree

Jamaicans in the Diaspora send over US$2 billion annually for the past ten years to Jamaica. In 2015 Diaspora remittances were US$2.3 billion. Any constraint on Diaspora remittances could have a significant adverse effect on Jamaica’s economy. Remittances contribute approximately 16% to Jamaica’s GDP. It is extremely important that Remittances move smoothly in the international financial money transfer system

My recommendation to all Diaspora members is to cooperate fully with WU and other money transfer agents. Apart from not having many alternative choices to engage in money transfer without similar scrutiny, all of us should be contributing to help stamp out lottery scammers by Jamaicans and their collaborators.  Let’s support our law enforcement community.  That’s the least we can do.


Ambassador Curtis A. Ward, B.A., J.D., LL.M., is an attorney and international consultant, and Adjunct Professor in the Homeland Security Graduate Program at the University of the District of Columbia. As former Ambassador of Jamaica to the United Nations he served two years on the U.N. Security Council. He was Expert Adviser to the UN Counter-Terrorism Committee for three years. He specializes in terrorism/counterterrorism legal and policy frameworks; anti-money laundering and countering financing of terrorism (AML/CFT); sanctions implementation; crime and security; human rights, rule of law and governance.


About the author

Ambassador Curtis A. Ward

Ambassador Curtis A. Ward is a former Ambassador and Deputy Permanent Representative of Jamaica to the United Nations with Special Responsibility for Security Council Affairs (1999-2002) serving on the UN Security Council for two years. He served three years as Expert Adviser to the UN Security Council Counter-Terrorism Committee. He is an Attorney-at-Law and International Consultant with extensive knowledge and experience in national and international legal and policy frameworks for effective implementation of United Nations (UN) and other international anti-terrorism mandates; the legal and administrative requirements to effectively implement and enforce anti-money laundering and countering financing of terrorism (AML/CFT); extensive knowledge of the legal and regulatory requirements for effective implementation and enforcement of United Nations multilateral and U.S.-imposed unilateral sanctions; and the imperatives for Rule of Law and governance. He is a geopolitical and international security analyst, and a human rights, democracy, and anticorruption advocate.


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