A woman says she lost money dealing with a loan company that she later found out was not on the up-and-up.
She was desperate and believed the voices on the other end of the phone were legitimate. It all started when she tried applying for a payday loan.
"I tried to get a loan from the payday loan place, but I couldn't get one," said the woman who did not want to be identified.
This woman says just when she was feeling hopeless after being denied for the loan, she got a call from a company called Installment Loans, who said they could help. First, they needed her to send in a payment.
"'You being a first-time recipient, we have to have the first month's payment up front,' which was $150. I sent that to them by money gram," she said.
And it didn't stop there, requests for more payments using iTunes cards.
"There was a problem, I needed to send another $242 because there was an IRS tax," she said. "The next thing they told me was that I had to send $249 for state-to-state - mind you, I would get all of this money back plus the loan, so I sent it."
She was then instructed to send another $180 for a processing fee, which she did. It totaled $821.50 in a span of about three days.
When the company asked for another $150 - that's when the light bulb came on.
"I asked for my money back. I didn't want a loan at that point, they said I'd have to pay a $145 cancellation fee."
That's the same thing they told the NBC12 Investigators when we called the company. When we asked what would happen to the money she already sent if she did not pay a cancellation fee, company officials said it would be donated to charity. The representative said the company has rules and regulations.
The victim contacted a number of authorities for help, including the Treasurer Inspector General for Tax Administration. Officials sent her a letter saying she'd been caught up in a nationwide scam emanating from India, and that the company has been under investigation for almost three years.
The letter suggests that she not answer any more of their calls.
"And I'm not a stupid person, and I don't know where my mind was the day I did that, I don't know where it was," she said.
Trying to get a loan, she spent money that would have gone toward rent. Now she's concerned about her family.
"Not only will I get evicted, but they will too," she said.
Unfortunately, experts say in situations like these, the chances of recovering lost money is slim-to-none.
Authorities say a tell-tale signs of a scam will always be if a company asks you to make payments using iTunes cards or money grams. They also remind you to apply the golden rule: if something seems too good to be true, it probably is.
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