Loans scam - never pay up front

Angus Council’s trading standards service has been alerted to a new loans scam.

It targets people with a bad credit history seeking a small loan. They submit a request to an online broker who will put lenders in touch. The consumer then receives a call from a number which appears to be a UK-based landline.

However, trading standards officers point out that UK-based landline numbers can be purchased by anyone, anywhere, to mask the true origin of the caller. It is believed that these calls are, in fact, emanating from India.

The consumer is given a UK address, which ties in with the dialling code, further adding to the impression that this is a legitimate UK business.

Again, business accommodation addresses can easily be purchased to give the impression that an organisation has a legitimate and contactable UK office. These addresses are commonly used as decoys or mail drops and are never occupied.

The caller offers the consumer a loan but requires a payment up front via a bank transfer. The consumer is then asked for additional cash, and this harassment continues.

The offer of a loan is a scam and consumers who pay money up front will receive nothing in return. The advice from trading standards is:

Never trust that a call from a UK or locally phone number originates from your area.

Never trust that a local or UK address is actually occupied by the business.

Never pay large amounts of money up front on the promise that you will receive a loan.

If you are a consumer or small business and intend to take out a loan, make sure you check that the loan provider and brokering agent have current consumer credit licences (contact your local trading standards service if you need assistance).

Never use Paypoint Bank Transfer, Western Union, or any other bank transfer facility, unless you personally know and trust the individual you are transferring money to.