ads scam consumers
Looking for a loan? The official-looking newspaper advertisement
you answer could drain your bank account.
The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation recently
released a warning to consumers about bogus ads placed in
small or community newspapers.
"On face value, you would not know there
was anything out of the ordinary," says FDIC spokesman
The bogus ads offer mortgage, small business,
debt or consolidation loans. The ads look real because they
use the logos of real banks -- but with different contact
information. The contact numbers in the ads have been traced
to prepaid cell phones.
Potential victims who apply for these
bogus loans are asked to provide their Social Security number
and are then told their loan has been granted. The scammers
fax the victim a loan application, requesting bank account
information and sometimes a copy of the applicant's driver's
license and Social Security card. The scammer then asks for
an advance payment through a Western Union wire transfer.
Only when the fake loan never appears does the victim realize
what has happened -- he's wired cash to a thief and his identity
has been stolen.
Most victims lost $500 to $800 dollars each," says
Barr. But, another danger is the possibility for identity
theft which could lead to a much greater loss, he says.
The FDIC warns that you should be suspicious
of any bank that requests you to wire money outside of the
banking system or to what the scammers are calling a "third-party
"Banks tend to offer consumer loans directly.
If you are asked to wire money outside of the bank or outside
of the country, that should raise some red flags," says
Consumers should also be suspicious if the phone
numbers in the ads are answered on a cell phone. "If
you think there's anything out of the ordinary, do some of
your own research," says Barr.
The FDIC advises consumers to look up the bank's
contact information themselves, rather than calling the number
in the ad. The FDIC has a database of most banks on their
If you think you may be a victim of this scam,
you should file a complaint with the Federal
Trade Commission and contact one of the credit
bureaus to request a fraud alert be placed on your credit
According to the FDIC, the scammers are communicating
with the newspapers through prepaid cell phones purchased
in Canada. This scam sounds remarkably similar to another
loan scam being run out of Canada.
about more scams.