What is this maybe scam? involving Western Union

There is a Western Union location I go to that provides bill pay, they are also one of the bigger locations that provides forex currency exchange.

Once when I went there a girl was hanging around, she asked if I would let her use my ID to buy USD. I said ok, the clerk had a bored look I take it she does this a lot. So she gives him her TTD and he gives her USD.

I have seen her hanging around that same location many times now, I refused her further use of my ID.

I assume IF she had counterfeit money the clerks would not let her hang around.

So what if anything is this scam? She has the money to exchange but wants to use other people’s ID cards/passports?

EDIT:Obviously this is not in the USA.

Money laundering, I presume.

The simplest explanation is that she doesn’t have an ID. Perhaps she is an illegal immigrant or working for a crime ring that kidnapped her and smuggled her into the country.

Man, there is no way anyone is using my ID for anyting. I would guess she is trying to avoid using her ID to buy dollars because it would attract the attention of the tax authorities. She probably has a business or works for someone who does and they want to convert to USD and hide the proceeds from the tax agency.

:smack:I didn’t even think of that. Any clue why she needs US currency?

Maybe and I considered the idea she just had no ID, but it doesn’t explain why she is doing this so frequently months apart I can run into her multiple times.

Does T&T have any kind of currency controls? IOW, any legal limitations on how much money one may convert between local & foreign currency? Or how much one may import or export? Likewise, is there an “official” conversion rate and a different black market rate available from shady characters operating in parks or open air markets?

The presence of any of all of those things would provide a motivation for her to evade them by using false ID.

Finally, why does WU want ID in the first place? What do they do with it? Ask the clerk next time you’re there. If she says “We file government form 1234” with it, then there’s the clue that will let you decode the mystery. Find out what the form is and what it does and you’ll have your answer.

How much was she converting? If it was $100 or so, she might think trust USD more than other currency. If it were more than $100, I’d go with the money laundering theory.

Western Union keeps track of who is using their system for what, and they will ban you from using them if their algorithms detect a pattern of transactions that look like scams/money-laundering, or if you have previously used counterfeit currency or reversed a credit-card transaction or done anything else they regard as harmful to their system.

I would guess she’s banned from WU, so her ID won’t work and she needs to use somebody else’s. Whether that could prove harmful to the somebody depends on why she was banned. If she was scammed herself and now has legitimate reasons, it might be ok; if she was banned for money-laundering, she’s probably still trying to do it.

I don’t understand how the clerk behind the counter is a party to all this. If I visibly give my ID to someone else - who asked for it, fer Chrissake! - the clerk would obviously realize that something was amiss. And of course, there’s the fact that the picture on the ID would look nothing like the person holding it.

Am I missing something here?

The clerk doesn’t work for Western Union. (The vast majority of Western Union locations are convenience stores, grocery stores, quick-cash stands, and the like who have a contract with WU.) The clerk works for Joe Bob’s Gas and Go, and may have little to no interest in enforcing WU’s corporate standards, except that the computer system requires SOMEBODY’S name and ID number to be entered.

In fact, it may well be in Joe Bob’s interests to have lots and lots of WU customers, even if they are customers that WU itself would prefer not to have, so Joe Bob and his employees turn a blind eye to shenanigans.

Yeah, bottom line the clerk probably just doesn’t care all that much.