Hoping to better her family with the loan she would receive, one local consumer wired over $800 to Fast Forward Financial Directions. She never received the loan and now faces overdrawn charges along with her mounting debt.
Fast Forward Financial Direction’s website is filled with promises that you will receive a loan within 48 hours, no matter what your credit history is like. The slick website includes testimonials of satisfied customers, company contact information and a convenient online loan application form. But consumers should beware — the company’s loan offer is a scam.
When Donna (her real name withheld for privacy reasons) contacted Fast Forward Financial Directions through their website, she was immediately approved for a loan. However, they told her that she would need to put $300 down as collateral and pay another $300 after the funds were dispersed to her. So Donna wired the money as instructed. She didn’t think to question that the money she was to wire was going to an individual residing in Canada. Instead, she was relieved by their promise that her loan would be deposited into her account within the hour and all her troubles would be over.
But the money never arrived in her account. She called the company back, frustrated and confused. However, Keith at the company reassured her that she just misunderstood the offer. Instead, of only paying $300 in collateral, she was actually supposed to pay the full $600 upfront. So, she obligingly wired another $300 and waited again for the loan to arrive into her account.
The loan never arrived, so she called the company once again. She was quickly transferred to a manager. After voicing her anger and frustrations to him, he apologized and told her that if she paid $200 she would certainly receive the full loan in 1-3 hours.
You guessed it – the loan never arrived.
Donna fell for what is known as the Advanced Fee Loan Scam. Consumers should be aware that these loan offers are bogus. BBB warns that no legitimate company will ask you to pay in advance of a loan, nor will they ask for any loan fee to be wired to them directly by Western Union, Moneygram, or any other wire service. Traditional banks generally deduct fees from the loan amount when the funds are dispersed to you and will never ask you to pay a loan fee upfront.
To protect yourself against Advance-Fee Loan Schemes:
- · Seek credit locally before looking elsewhere. If you are turned down make sure you fully understand why.
- · Do not act immediately. Many Advance-Fee Loan Schemes will try to get you to send money or give out credit card numbers before you get any paperwork or have a chance to check them out.
- · Beware of anyone who claims that acting before you receive paperwork speeds up the processing of the loan.
- · Get references and investigate them.
Unfortunately, for Donna there is no happy ending to her story. In her last correspondence with the company she emailed a heart-felt plea, begging that they give her the loan before Christmas and fulfill at least a part of what they promised to her. Her email was returned as undeliverable.
If you are a victim, BBB strongly suggests that you contact the Federal Trade Commission at www.ftc.gov to file a report. You can also contact your local consumer protection agency and the Internet Crime Complaint Center at www.ic3.gov. Since consumers also report to us that they are instructed to wire funds to Canada, victims should contact the Canadian Anti-Fraud Center, otherwise known as PhoneBusters at www.phonebusters.com or by calling 1-888-495-8501 to report the fraud.