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Be on the look out for Scammers!

Posted in Misc Crime April 30th, 2009 @ 11:22 am

Scammers are low-life people looking to make money on people’s fears and anxieties. Take for instance scammers who promise fraudulent loans. Many people today are faced with high interest rates and decreased home values. As a result, scammers are more than happy to take your money and give you nothing in return.

They advertise these fake loans, especially in a smaller market and community newspapers and offer mortgage, small business, debt consolidation or other types of loans. They use financial institution’s logos to give themselves some type of “credibility.” However, they are not credible. They call themselves a “third-party consultant” who promise to work with your lender to get you financing and of course, they claim that you are “approved” right away. They ask for your social security number, bank account number, driver’s licensee and always an upfront fee. Any reputable mortgage lender will never ask for money up front as well as ask for your private information over the phone. You run the risk of identity theft with these scammers.

Here are some of the signs of a loan scam – if you received an unsolicited call, email or letter offering you a loan or if money is requested up front to cover “processing,” “application,” “insurance,” or the “first month’s payment” these are definitely a red flag of loan scams. Legitimate lenders ask for this only at the time the loan is disbursed. Finally, if they ask for more money and requesting that you “wire” or “send” money to a large U.S. city or to another country such as Canada, England or Nigeria by Western Union or Moneygram, call your state’s attorney general. Do not send them money.

Recently, an alert has been issued for a swine flu scam. This one is despicable because it plays on our fears of what is happening right now. The scammers send out emails with subject lines such as “Madonna caught swine flu!” and then send you to online pharmacies that claim they have a “Swine Flu Survival Guide” for $19.95. They also claim they have a vaccine for the swine flu. There is no vaccine for the swine flu. Don’t be caught in their scam!

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