A SAMSON resident is one of a number from WA to have been caught in an online loan scam.
According to Consumer Protection, scammers steal the identity of legitimate credit providers and target online users looking for loans, charging them huge fees and insurance charges.
Acting Consumer Protection commissioner Gary Newcombe said a recent case involved a small Sydney operator Finance Money Australia Pty Ltd, the scammers who stole their identity taking $4000 in upfront taxes and insurance from a WA consumer for an unsecured loan that he was told had been approved.
He said Australians are thought to have lost more than $20,000 to the scam, with two other consumers losing $10,000 when Mercury Money had their identity stolen earlier this year.
“The heartless nature of this type of scam is particularly disturbing, as it targets susceptible consumers who may have had difficulties getting loans from traditional sources and then preys on their excitement when they believe their loan application has been successful,” he said.
“Genuine credit providers are also being affected after having their business identities stolen and fake websites and email addresses being set up by replicating their name, but with only slight differences which are not immediately obvious.
“As the scammers are using the names of genuine loan providers, registration checks with ASIC will turn up a positive result, so we advise consumers to independently verify the authenticity of the company by using their contact details on their registration or via the White or Yellow Pages phone directories.”
Visit www.scamnet.wa.gov.au for more information.