Mum-of-four Sarah Kerr lost ?100 to a loan fee scam when she tired to borrow cash for urgent repairs to her car
- Rosie Taylor
- Updated : ,
- Rosie Taylor
- Invalid Date,
FAKE lending websites are still live despite official warnings that they con people out of cash in loan fee scams.
Last month the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) warned about the “growing threat” of loan fee scams which cost Brits ?3.5million last year.
They receive texts or emails telling them they’ve been approved but must pay an admin fee first of between ?25 and ?450.
They are then persuaded to make other payments to “release” the money – but it never arrives. The average victim lost ?740 last year.
It is thought fraudsters behind the website neofinance.loan have copied the name of an unconnected registered company (Neo Finance Ltd) to trick borrowers.
The website is not authorised by the FCA and asks customers to hand over their bank details and debit card details, including security code, to apply.
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The loans company quotes a fake FCA interim permission number, fake company registration number and fake VAT number on the website.
The FCA said: “We believe this firm has been providing financial services or products in the UK without our authorisation.”
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This is a so-called “clone firm” which uses details from a genuine, authorised firm to trick customers into thinking it is a real loans provider.
The FCA said: “This is a firm that we have been told is either operating regulated activities without the correct authorisation, or is running a scam.
As the fake loan websites are usually hosted overseas, UK authorities are almost powerless to act – even though the scams target Brits.
And all innocent companies whose details have been stolen can do is request for websites or UK-based telephone numbers used in the scams to be taken offline by providers.
‘I lost ?100 when I tried to borrow ?5,000 for an emergency’
MUM-OF-FOUR Sarah Kerr lost ?100 in a loan fee scam when she tried to borrow ?5,000 for urgent repairs to her car.
Sarah, from Winsford, Cheshire, is disabled due to a spine condition and needs the vehicle to get around and take her the site kids to school.
As she relies on disability benefits and didn’t have the cash spare for repairs, Sarah applied online for a loan.Later that day she received an email from a different company, Century Finance.
Sarah was told she needed to pay a ?25 admin charge by iTunes vouchers and the loan money would be in her account within an hour.
She called back and was told she needed to pay a further ?75 in iTunes vouchers as a security deposit because of her poor credit rating.
When she called again, she was told she needed to pay a further ?225 fee and the money was “guaranteed” to then arrive.
Smelling a rat, she contacted the FCA who confirmed the company was not registered and it was likely to be a scam.
Sarah repeatedly tried to get her money back but Century Finance refused, saying she had backed out of the loan agreement.
It continued to insist it was registered with the FCA.She said: “I was so angry and upset but most of all I felt stupid.
The FCA lists Century Finance as a “clone” firm which is using some details of genuine firms in order to scam people.
He said: “We have had little impact on this abhorrent practice… The best we can do, and we continue to do this on a regular basis, is to shut down the telephone numbers.