ANGUS Council’s trading standards service has been alerted to a loans scam by a local consumer.
The scam is targeted at people with a bad credit history who are seeking a small loan.
They submit a request to an online broker who offers to put lenders in touch.
The consumer who then receives a phone call from a number which appears to be a UK based landline.
However, trading standards officers point out that UK based landline numbers can easily be purchased by anyone, anywhere, and used to mask the true origin of the caller. It is believed that these calls are, in fact, emanating from India.
The consumer is given a UK based address, which ties in with the dialling code from the phone number, further adding to the impression that this is a legitimate UK business.
Again, business accommodation addresses can easily be purchased to give the impression that an organisation has a legitimate and contactable UK office. In reality, these addresses are commonly used as decoys or mail drops and are never actually occupied.
The caller offers the consumer a loan but requires a payment up front via a bank transfer.
The consumer is then asked for additional cash, and this harassment continues.
Unfortunately the offer of a loan is a scam and consumers who pay money up front will in fact receive nothing in return.
The advice from trading standards is:
Never simply trust that a call from a UK or locally based phone number, actually originates from this area.
Never trust that a local, or UK based address is actually occupied by the business claiming to operate from it.
Never pay large amounts of money up front on the promise that you will receive a loan, before you have received some formal paperwork and before you have checked out the loan provider yourself.
If you are a consumer or small business and intend to take out a loan, make sure you check that the loan provider and brokering agent have current consumer credit licences (contact your local trading standards service if you need assistance).
Never use Paypoint Bank Transfer, Western Union, or any other bank transfer facility, unless you personally know the individual who you are transferring money to, and you are sure that you can trust them.