Western Union International has ordered all their St. James offices temporarily closed until the proper security measures can be put in place to hinder the flourishing lottery scamming industry. The 14 locations in Montego Bay were given closure notice last weekend, and are set to remain close for at least two weeks. GraceKennedy Money Services is the operator of the Western Union franchise for the Caribbean. Customers are being advised that they may use other Western Unions in the neighbouring parishes of Hanover and Trelawny.
The multibillion dollar illegal lottery industry has placed not only the second city but the entire Jamaica in the spotlight as thousands report being fleeced by the operations masterminds based here. The scammers are known to use western union as their main money transfer company.
The United States embassy estimates that scammers has fleeced J$2.5 billion from their victims in 2008 (alone), several murders have been linked to the industry and this has the business community worried. This step by Western Union is one of many being taken by the necessary authorities to put a stop to the lottery scamming industry.
Affected customers may contact the customer centre in Jamaica at 1888-991-2056 or in the US at 1800-325-6000.