Victims lose thousands in online loan scams
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Consumer Protection has issued an alert after many West Australians desperate to get a loan have been duped by online loan scams.
In the past 12 months, 13 people have reported losses of more than $25,000 after applying for loans online and then being contacted by scammers. They are told their loan has been approved and asked to pay fees upfront in the belief that they would then receive their approved finance.
Commissioner for Consumer Protection Anne Driscoll said some of the scammers are stealing the identity of legitimate online money lenders, adding to the confusion of consumers.
“Many of the victims have had their loan applications from traditional lenders rejected, so have widened their search online with the hope of getting a favourable response,” Ms Driscoll said.
“Their delight at finally getting a personal or business loan application approved soon turns to disappointment and anger when they discover that they have been scammed. Money for fees and insurance that they have been asked to pay upfront have been lost and no finance is forthcoming.
“These heartless scammers are again targeting people who are in desperate circumstances and in a financial position where they can least afford to lose money.
“This scam is a recent variation of an advance fee fraud and we need the community to be aware of the new tactics being used by scammers to steal honest people’s money by deception.
“We recommend consumers only deal with licensed credit providers and ensure they are using official websites and email addresses of these registered companies, rather than replying to what may be a scam email, clicking on links in these emails or clicking on online ads which may take them to fake websites.
“A request to pay fees upfront and transfer the money to overseas bank accounts or by wire transfer services is an indication that the loan offer may be a scam, so be suspicious and get advice from Consumer Protection or ASIC before proceeding.”
Further information and advice on scams is available on the WA ScamNet website www.scamnet.wa.gov.au. Consumers can contact WA ScamNet by email: firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone 1300 30 40 54.
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