Beware: Online Payday Loan Traps

Published: Sep. 7, 2012 at 3:38 PM EDT|Updated: Sep. 26, 2012 at 6:11 PM EDT
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RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - Local consumer advocates are warning about an online payday loan company targeting the public. Tom Gallagher, with the Richmond Better Business Bureau, is sounding the alarm. The organization is suspicious about an online payday loan company called Qxlonline.

"The very first thing they ask you, go right to their splash page and before anything, they want your social security number and some other personal information," Gallagher said.

The company has an "F" rating with the BBB. Gallagher says attempts to reach anyone with Qxlonline has been unsuccessful. There have been at least five complaints in Virginia. They include threatening collection calls about loans consumers say they never applied for -- and the company obtaining personal information then locking customers out of the website.

"This is really tragic because the victims in these things are just desperate," said Gallagher.

He says there have been over 600 inquires about the company. Gallagher says a big problem, no one seems to know where the company is located. Victims have reported the company could be located in Pakistan and Australia.

"Wherever it is, you don't want to be doing business with these people. It is an advance fee loan operation - an advance fee loan online is illegal in Virginia," Gallagher told us.

On the website, there is no email or address information, only a phone number. We called and all you get is an automated message asking for your social security number. The BBB is not only consumer organization warning about Qxlonline - Dana Wiggins, with the Virginia Poverty Law Center and Virginia Partnership to Encourage Responsible Lending, says consumers should stay away from any company offering online payday loans.

"Bottom line people need to understand that online payday loans are not an easy road to money, they are and easy road to get scammed," she said.

She's received complaints about the company and her research reveals Qxlonline could be part of a feeder system, an operation where dozens of online payday loans sites are connected and share or sell private information.

"These loans are very dangerous. You give away a lot of personal information and the repercussions last for years," Wiggins said.

Like the BBB, she stresses online payday loans are illegal in the state. Wiggins says try going to family and friends or your local credit union. If you need help, or you think you're involved in a payday loan online, Wiggins says her organization has a hotline and website that can help. The hotline number for payday loan help is (866) 830-4501.

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