The BBB warns consumers in Michigan that advance fee loan scams from Canada are blanketing the country. Americans have sent thousands of dollars in fees to con artist in Canada who had advertised $5,000 to $500,000 loans. Most have never received a dime in return.
"Advance fee" loan promoters advertise in newspapers, tabloids and on the internet. Their ads make impossible claims and promises: "Had credit problems? Garnishments, repossessions, or even bankruptcy? No Problem! We can loan you thousands of dollars at below-market interest rates!"
You phone the company and provide them with your detailed credit history, such as your Social Security number, bank account numbers, and salary information. They confidently say "Oh, a loan should be no problem at all. We make loans to people with much worse credit them yours!" What's the catch? They need you to send them an advanced fee of $150 to over $2,000 in advance for their services. And they want it fast, often by Western Union. But don't worry, they say; "If we can't find you a loan, we'll refund that advanced fee."
Don't believe it! The Better Business Bureaus in Canada are flooded with complaints form U.S. victims who have sent fees, received nothing, and now can't locate the companies. The crooks move and reopen with new names all the time.
Don't feel safe because the as promising a loan claims to be from a U.S. location. Often the Canadian scammers set up a "mail drop" with a New York State or other American address. But the mail is actually forwarded to Canada (or the Western Union address they give you to send the money is in Canada.)
The crooks know that people in desperate financial pressure will grasp at any promise. If this might be you, avoid:
The Canadian law enforcement agency PhoneBuster (1-888-495-8501) can give you more information to help. The BBB also has reports on companies before you buy. Visit our site at www.bbb.org and search for the company in our database or file a complaint if you have become a victim.