Online Loan Scams? – Too Many to Count!


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By Steve Abel – President of the Abilene BBB | June 1, 2014

Better Business Bureau is alerting local consumers and businesses to online loan scams. We advise extreme caution in applying for loans online. Many loan sites are fraudulent; applicants are usually flooded with unwanted calls from all over the world.BBB has recently received numerous calls on online loan companies demanding up-front payments for loans, then disappearing after they receive the funds.This scam is particularly bad because it takes advantage of those unable to obtain traditional bank loans and can least afford to be scammed.Most people stumble upon the presentation online or learn about the loan offer from ads in local publications or classified sites like Craigslist. Often, an unethical advance fee loan website will be created and taken down within a couple weeks only to be replaced by another operating under a different name and fake business address.{{more}}The websites look professional and might even put the victim through the rigors of filling out loan application forms—often requiring the victim’s bank account and Social Security number.Eventually, victims are told they are approved for the loan and just need to pay as much as thousands of dollars upfront via money order or wire transfer to pay for insurance or collateral. Those that pay never get the promised loan and are even sometimes tricked into giving even more money. BBB strongly advises would-be borrowers to exercise caution before providing information or paying advance fees to unknown firms.BBB offers the following advice to avoid losing money to an online loan company: • Start with Trust®. Check with the BBB before doing business.• Avoid doing business with companies only accepting Green Dot MoneyPak cards or wire transfers. When a consumer gives someone the number on the back of a loaded card or wires money, it is like sending cash and is untraceable.• Do not provide personal information such as bank account or Social Security numbers online unless you are sure of who you are dealing with and the site is secure.• Read and understand any agreements, policies or terms and conditions before agreeing to any loan. Make sure the loan company has a verifiable physical location.If you have other questions contact BBB at 325-691-1533 or through our website: bbb.org/Abilene.