BBB serving Vancouver Island is issuing a warning to consumers across North America to use extreme caution when applying for a loan online.
BBB has recently received an influx of complaints against an online lender going by the name Credit Loan Solution (http://creditloansolution.com). Since May 5, 2014 six complaints have been lodged at BBB against this company. Complainants all allege that they applied online to the company for a personal loan. The applicants were then sent a document claiming that a loan for $10,000 had been approved. Due to the applicants low credit score the company claimed the applicant must provide something as collateral or purchase insurance, at the cost of $690 (or more), before they would receive the loan. The applicants were then asked to wire transfer the money to the company.
In three instances, complainants report paying between $690 to $2400 for insurance and fees. Upon making the wire payments for the insurance the complainants claim the company stopped responding to them, would not refund their money and did not transfer any money for the “approved” loans into their bank accounts. Private information such as bank account numbers, social insurance numbers / social security numbers, drivers license and proof of employment was also collected from the complainants by the company.
The addresses provided to the complainants in the documentation they received from the company are for locations that exist, but which are not the actual residence of the company Credit Loan Solution. BBB has contacted the company via email and phone and has asked the company to provide a written response to the complaints received. To date BBB has not received any communications from this company, either written or verbal.
To protect yourself from fraudulent online lenders BBB has the following tips to consider:
- Carefully research the company first. Make sure the business is actually a legitimate, reputable online lender. Look up the company’s BBB Business Review. If the company does not have a BBB Business Review consider why. Be aware that some companies that appear to be online lenders are actually companies acting as “lead generators” who collect your personal information and sell it to other lending companies.
- Locate the company. With the Internet it is very easy for a company to pretend to exist somewhere, when in fact they do not. Does the company provide a physical address, as well as a phone number and email address? Before applying for a loan online be sure to see if you can actually “find” the brick and mortar location of the company. Carefully review the contact information provided. Do a quick Google search to see if the address exists and the building in reference belongs to the online lenders. If the address is for a mall or plaza consider contacting the owner of the mall or plaza to confirm the business resides there.
- Get it in writing. Be sure to get every detail of the loan agreement in writing and carefully read the fine print before signing anything. Be very suspicious if the company won’t provide you with a detailed copy of the loan agreement first. Carefully review the loan agreement to make sure it does not contain spelling errors or grammar mistakes. Before signing the agreement you may want to have your own lawyer, notary or financial advisor review it with you first. Don’t be fooled by documents that appear overly “legal” as well. You should understand all the terms and conditions of the loan agreement before signing.
- You should not have to pay a fee to get a loan. Legitimate financial lenders will not require you to pay a fee for paperwork or insurance prior to getting a loan.Typically the cost of such fees is included in the total loan amount, and is not an additional sum that you must pay up front in order to secure the loan.
- Never wire money.Legitimate financial lenders will never ask you to wire money to them for any reason. In fact very few legitimate businesses will ever ask you to wire money to them. Scam artists like to use money-wiring services because once the money has been sent it is virtually untraceable.
- Use common sense. The reality is that if you are in a financially challenging situation, with significant debt and a poor credit rating, it is very unlikely that you will easily qualify for additional loans from any lender. Legitimate, reputable financial advisors can help you come up with a long term plan to repair your credit rating and reduce your debt, without charging you advance fees or additional fees for their services or advice.