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‘I got swindled because my credit sucks,’ says Burnaby victim of fake loan scam

Vulnerable people ignore red flags

My credit didn’t use to be the best.

Not many people these days have great credit. But it’s not just annoying – some people are falling victim to scammers because they have bad credit that makes them desperate enough to fall for an offer that is too good to be true.

How the scam works is a person receives an email advertising a guaranteed loan. The email displays a logo and contact information for what appears to be a legitimate business. Before proceeding with the offer, you search for the company online to determine if they can be trusted. You find that the company name and contact information listed in the body of the email matches with a legitimate company, so you proceed with the loan. 

“It seemed too good to be true and it was,” said a Burnaby resident who got one of those emails. “I really needed someone to believe in me and it cost me. I got swindled because my credit sucks – basically.”

According to the Better Business Bureau, once you agree to the loan, they take your personal banking information and deposit the loan into your account via a cheque. Then, they demand you buy insurance for the loan before the cheque officially clears. 

These scammers know that consumers are increasingly aware of phishing attempts, so they use the identity of a business that can easily be verified as legitimate online. This allows them to build up the victim’s trust and ultimately get access to their bank accounts.

How to avoid fake loan offers:

  • Avoid unsolicited loan offers. Scammers use offers of quick cash to lure you in–don’t fall for it. Whether they contact you by phone, email or text or send loan offers by mail, approach all unsolicited offers for money with caution. 
  • Expect a credit check. These scams often prey on people who may not easily qualify for a loan. No legitimate lender will provide you with a loan without performing a credit check. 
  • Ensure the business contact information matches the email sender information. Brand identifiers can easily be copied and included in the body of an email, so the most important information for a consumer to verify is the email address of the sender. The domain for the email address typically matches the domain of the official website and should be free of random letters or numbers. 
  • Research loan providers before accepting an offer. When doing business with an unfamiliar company, don’t just verify they are legitimate by searching their name online because you could be missing surprising information. View ratings and reviews to see what other people are saying, check for a BBB business profile and look up the business with Consumer Protection BC if you are considering a payday loan.