RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) – The Better Business Bureau says people are losing thousands of dollars after falling for an advance fee loan scam. In tonight's 12 On Your Side Alert, how it works and who is most at risk.
If you are struggling to make ends meet financially - you are a prime target for people who operate these advance fee loan schemes, but the BBB says you don't have to be victim.
Times are tough and we can all use a little extra cash, but the Better Business Bureau warns - don't be fooled by advanced fee loan gimmicks.
"The way they work it through is they tell you…you need to go get a money order and wire that money order, and you wire that money order, and you do a wire transfer, and the bank is an international bank typically in Canada, sometimes Nigeria, sometimes Europe…and that's how it happens," said Tom Gallagher with the BBB.
Bottom line, your money is gone. Gallagher says the person looking to dupe you usually wants you to send a large sum of money before you to get the so called loan.
"Don't send money in advance. Don't send an advance fee. That's where the scam comes in," he said.
Gallagher says legitimate lenders will never ask for money before they loan you money. He says the criminals prey on people's financial troubles.
"In a situation like this, the folks that are the victims are the folks who are the neediest. They are desperate. They are afraid they are going lose their house. They are afraid their mortgage will be foreclosed on. They've got medical bills they can't meet. They are really, really worried," Gallagher said.
You don't have to be a victim. Here are some red flags:
- The lender has a bad reputation or none at all.
- The lender is not registered in your state to do business.
- Finally, the lender wants you to wire money or send a money order.
Here's a look at some of the businesses the BBB has received complaints on in connection with the advance fee loan issue.
- Capital Alliance Financial Group
- Harford Financial Services
- Howard and Clark Financial
- Lending Hand Financial
The BBB says most people fall for the fake loans while surfing online or after reading a bogus ad.
"It makes it almost impossible to track it down. We've seen some prosecutions in the past. They set it up and get the money - it's a quick hit, and then they get out," Gallagher said.
If you need to borrow money, the BBB says you should contact your bank or a reputable company. If you have doubt - do your research, ask lots of questions or even contact the BBB directly.