Sacramento Finance Lenders Swindle $11,500 From Consumers

  
     
July 28, 2017

WEST SACRAMENTO, CALIF – Better Business Bureau (BBB) is warning American and Canadian consumers to be on the lookout for telephone callers soliciting them with loan offers that require payment of advance fees. Consumers are being contacted by one of four different, ‘F’ rated, finance lending companies who are all advertising Sacramento addresses: Feinberg Lending Group, Sertain Secure Financial Services, Procure Monetary Group, and Renford & AssociatesSacramento Finance Lenders Swindle $11,500 from Consumers

“Scammers will promise you almost anything - loans, sweepstakes winnings, government grants, all in exchange for an upfront payment. They will offer any number of justifications for the payments, whatever it takes to get the victim to wire money,” said Lynn Conner, President & CEO of Better Business Bureau serving Northeast California. “Once paid, the scammer disappears and the money they were promised is never delivered,” she added.

BBB reviewed copies of contracts from Feinberg Lending Group and Renford & Associates; they contain clauses requiring consumers to make “collateral payments” totaling either $450 or $675. Once paid, typically via wire transfer, consumers say they contact their representative only to be told they need to pay additional fees. One consumer reported paying four separate fees for a loan. Another paid over $6,000. None of the complainants received the loans they were promised.

All four companies advertise a different Sacramento address. However, BBB has been unable to confirm that these addresses are legitimate. Neither company has registered a Fictitious Business Name in Sacramento county. Leasing companies contacted by BBB have reported the addresses to be vacant or, in one case, the agent suggested the address might be for a residential apartment complex across the street from his building.

The four companies each advertised with their own websites, all four of which were registered with the same Canadian web hosting service and created within the last six months. On July 21, 2017 BBB reviewed the websites and found that they were deactivated. When contacted, the web hosting service informed us that the websites were owned by the same account which also owned a number of other domain names. They also explained that the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre alerted them to fraudulent activity associated with the websites and, therefore, the account was cancelled.

Tips to Avoid an Advance Fee Loan Scam:

  • Know the law. It is illegal for lenders doing business by phone in the U.S. to promise a loan or credit card and ask you to pay for it before they deliver. Legitimate lenders do often charge application or or credit report fees, but will disclose these fees clearly and typically take the fees from the amount you borrow, and fees are taken after the loan is approved.
  • Check their license. The California Department of Business Oversight (DBO) requires most Finance Lenders operating in California to obtain a Finance Lender’s license from the agency. You can verify whether or not a Finance Lender is licensed by searching the DBO’s website. Note: there are some exceptions to the law, including an exemption for banks and certain individuals licensed by other agencies.
  • Legitimate lenders care about your credit history. Be wary of lenders that claim to be “bad credit lenders” and offer you a loan without doing a credit check.
  • Don’t pay by wire transfer or gift card. Legitimate lenders will never collect fees by prepaid debit cards, wire transfer, or gift cards. Once payment is sent in one of these ways, it is almost impossible to recover.
  • Do an internet search. Check with your local Better Business Bureau at bbb.org; be sure to check the company’s rating and reviews. What are other consumers saying about the company?
  • Know how to spot a scam. Review the business’s website - are the graphics well designed and professional appearing? Is the language used grammatically correct? Legitimate businesses make spelling errors too, but if a website is riddled with errors it is typically the sign of a scam. How long has the website been around? You can look up a website’s creation date on the website www.whois.com.
  • Report scams when you see them. Report fraud and local scams to Better Business Bureau at bbb.org/scamtracker.