Scammers have a new way of grabbing your identity - and some cold hard cash too. Realistic-looking fake advertisements for financial institutions offering loans are cropping up in newspapers. Victims are finding they are getting more - and less - than they bargained for when they sign up for these loans.
The way the scam works is that an advertisement appears in a print publication bearing the actual logo of a recognized financial institution. The contact information, however, is bogus and typically leads to prepaid cell phone numbers. Loan applicants are asked to provide their Social Security number, bank account information, and in some cases even a photocopy of a driver's license and Social Security card.
Loans are approved and, as a final blow to their dignity, applicants are asked to send a pre-payment of the first loan payment via Western Union wire transfer.
Of course, there is no loan and the loan applicants never hear from the perpetrators again. Meanwhile, they've lost their identity and a payment as well. Depending on the size of the fake loan, the pre-payments typically fall in the $500 to $800 range.
The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation is asking those who have been victimized to file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission. In addition, victims should contact one of the credit bureaus and ask to have a fraud alert placed on their credit report.
The three credit bureaus are:
888 397 3742