12 ON YOUR SIDE: Loan scammers target businesses

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - Payday loan scammers impersonating other companies are targeting businesses again. One company owner is taking steps to raise awareness because his company has been victimized.

Victor Daniel owns "elitecashwire.com" and says someone has impersonated his company three times in recent months.

I arranged to talk with him about it by Skype. Daniel says they're using his company's name to steal from people.

Elite Cash Wire's, website shows smiling people counting cash and everywhere the line: "Get up to $1500 cash overnight even if you have bad or no credit!!!"

If it sounds like a payday loan business - company owner Victor Daniel says it's not.

"I'm an advertising agency," said Daniel. "I work with the lenders, but I don't lend money. I just get paid like a referral fee."

Four months ago, Jacob Coker called 12 for help after he lost money to someone claiming to represent Elite Cash Wire. I emailed Daniel and he fired back an email, stating he was a victim too and that someone was impersonating his company.

Daniel says he has reported three new complaints to police and the Online Lenders Association. OLA's hotline number is now on his webpage.

"How is it damaging me? Somebody goes on a blog and says something negative about our company that's not true. That damages me because everybody reads now online," said Daniel.

The scheme varies, but most involve the borrower paying to get the loan with pre-paid cards, and typically the scammers promise more than what the borrower is seeking.

"They're baiting them in by telling them they got approved for a loan higher than what normally is for these types of industries," said Daniel. "I don't vouch for all the lenders, but most of them are going to give you the interest within your payments. They're not going to ask you for money up front."

He says he's speaking out for people who really do need emergency cash.

"I started doing this because I couldn't get a loan myself, and one by one, I found banks that were giving loans out to people that have had pasts. They couldn't make a payment or they went bankrupt like myself," said Daniel.

Daniel says other businesses are seeing their names used by impersonators. If you think you've been scammed, call the Online Lenders Association number at 1-866-299-7385 or visit http://www.onlinelendersalliance.org/.

You can also call the Predatory Loan Hotline at 1-866-830-4501 if you think you've been scammed.

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