Scammers prey on people needing assistance. For example, loan scam ads are found through online advertising or deceitful websites designed to look like a legitimate lending institution. A victim responds to the ad and is asked to provide personal information such as a copy of a passport, SIN, driver’s licence and bank account details which can result in ID theft. The scammers then ask the victim to send money to secure the loan. The loan is then never received by the victim.
On January 30, 2019, a 25 year old male, from Prescott reported that he was a victim of a similar scam. The victim applied for an on-loan, through a business known as Californialoans.com. He was advised that prior to receiving his $2000.00 loan he had to purchase $140.00 of Steam on-line video gift cards and provide them with the gift card codes. Additionally, he was required to provide his personal information. The victim provided what was requested and he never received the loan. Additionally, the victim is left with the concern of what the scammer might do with the personal information.
Be very suspicious of someone offering you easy money. Scammers are skilled at convincing people that their loan offer is real.
Warning signs – How to protect yourself
- It is illegal in most provinces for a company to request an upfront fee prior to obtaining your loan.
- Beware of companies offering a guarantee on your loan even if you have bad credit or no credit.
- Should you be requested to make payments via email money transfer, money service business, or pre-paid credit cards cease all contact immediately.
- Contact consumer protection agencies and regulators for lenders in your province to ensure that the company is a legitimate lender.
- Advertising through a recognized media outlet does not ensure that the ad was placed by a legitimate company.