Consumers warned to watch out for online loan scams

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Friday, July 24th, 2015
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The Trading Standards Service (TSS) is warning people to steer clear of scam loan companies who take upfront fees but fail to provide credit or offer clearly unsuitable credit alternatives. Scam AlertThe warning comes during this year’s “Don’t be Rushed, Don’t be Hushed” Scams Awareness Month campaign. TSS is alerting consumers after seeing a year-on-year rise in complaints about loan scams, particularly credit applications which involve the consumer ‘wiring’ or sending upfront fees through money transfer companies. Laura Kane, Trading Standards Inspector, explained, “A person will typically reply to an advert online or a social media site for a fast loan and will have their application approved regardless of their credit history. “Before they receive the loan, they are told they must pay an upfront fee to cover administration or insurance costs for the loan. Once this fee is paid, the victim does not usually hear from the company again and the loan is never received.” “In one case, a consumer from Armagh lost around £1,000 to this scam when applying for a loan on a fake website. The scammers promised her a loan of £3,000 but demanded that she make advance payments via money transfer voucher and by credit card to cover fees and to show that she could make repayments. Laura added, “She believed that the scammer’s reasoning for making advance payments was plausible but ended up losing a lot of money for a loan that never existed.” TSS is also seeing an increase in another loan scam involving online credit broker websites. These are websites that promise to find loans for people with poor credit histories, but are not lenders themselves. Often buried in the small print is a clause allowing the broker to charge £50 to £75 to find the person a loan, on top of an annual interest charge as high as 3,000%. In the worst cases, the site shares the person’s bank details with as many as 10 other companies, which then also debit the same sum from their account. TSS has received a large number of complaints from consumers who have had hundreds of pounds debited from their account by companies they have never dealt with. Despite paying the fees, the majority of consumers did not receive a suitable loan or were simply directed to a payday loan site. Trading Standards Inspector Laura Kane added, “Demands for payments upfront should serve as a warning sign as genuine loan companies would never ask for payments to be made in advance. She added, “The object of applying for a loan is to receive money and pay it back over time in affordable instalments. Scammers prey on anyone they think may be an easy target, such as those in need of money quickly, who have bad credit or have been turned down for loans before.” The Trading Standards Service advises people to be vigilant when dealing with or taking calls from loan companies that want upfront fees and who are not interested in consumers’ credit history.

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1 Comment for “Consumers warned to watch out for online loan scams”

  1. […] Consumers warned to watch out for online loan scams – TSS is also seeing an increase in another loan scam involving online credit broker websites. These are websites that promise … to charge £50 to £75 to find the person a loan, on top of an annual interest charge as … […]

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