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How to Protect Your Truckstop from Fraudulent Western Union Calls

Posted in: Truckstop Business, Operations

NATSO has recently heard of truckstops receiving fraudulent Western Union tech support calls. To trick the truckstop into wiring money, suspects use a scam involving fake test codes. The good news? You can stop it from happening to you by understanding the scam and setting good policies.

Example of How This Scam Works

  1. A scam artist posing as tech support for Western Union calls.

  2. They inform the truckstop that for some reason they need to run tests. (For example, they may say a tower in the area was down and they need to run some testing and perform updates.)

  3. The scam artist asks the truckstop to log into the system in training mode, but then asks them to log out and log back in. They falsely claim the truckstop is still in training mode. (For example, they may instruct the truckstop to select the Alt F4 key to log out, falsely claiming it will keep the truckstop in training mode.)

  4. The scammer then asks the truckstop to go into Prepaid Services where they ask the truckstop to enter a code number in the amount, which is supposed to make the test or update work.

  5. The scammer then asks for the Money Transfer Control Number (MTCN) or tracking number. While the scam artist may say this is to verify the test, it is actually so they can go pick up their money at an agent location.

What You Should Know

  1. Be sure your truckstop(s) have a set policy for how to handle Western Union calls and be sure it is well-communicated to all staff.

  2. All Western Union reps have an operator number. For your location’s policy, I advise operators to include the requirement that if a Western Union rep calls, cashiers are to obtain their operator number, hang up and then call the Western Union 800 number and ask for that operator.

  3. Make sure your cashiers are aware of this scam and have a clear process for what to do if they suspect fraud.

Lastly, these and other precautions should also be used for phone calls from Western Union operators purportedly calling to wire money for a customer through the Western Union "Send Money Via Phone Program".  Again be sure your location's policy is to get the caller's operator number and call them back on Western Union's 800 number to verify that this is a legitimate call.

Here are some other sources to help prevent check fraud:

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About the Author

Darren Schulte

Darren Schulte

Darren Schulte serves as Vice President of Membership at NATSO. In this role, he directs recruitment, retention and customer service for truckstop and travel plaza members. He is also responsible for developing NATSO products and programs, particularly those relating to education, research and training for truckstop and travel plaza operators.

Schulte also leads NATSO's Profitable Retail Review program. A Profitable Retail Review is a custom assessment of your truckstop, including recommendations for every aspect of your facility, from actionable ideas to improve revenue to tactical ways to improve your net operating costs. Learn about NATSO's Profitable Retail Review program here.

Schulte joined NATSO with nearly three decades of experience in truckstop and travel plaza operations and merchandising. Schulte has worked for: 

  • Love's Travel Stops and Country Stores,
  • HESS Corporation, 
  • Petro Stopping Centers, and
  • TSC Global/Barjan LLC.