Lending Hands of Idaho, Inc., a bogus online lender, appears to have pirated website information from a legitimate Michigan-based company named Lending Hands of Michigan, Inc. raising a warning flag to consumers who may be searching for loans online.
The Michigan-based company has indicated that the bogus company has no affiliation with Lending Hands of Michigan, Inc. and the public should be aware of the fraudulent use of the Michigan-based company’s website content. Investigation has determined that the bogus company, whose website appears to be from Africa – listed its location as Boise, Idaho.
The bogus company, Lending Hands of Idaho, Inc. / Lending Hands, Inc. perpetrated an advance fee loan scam and, based on complaint information received by the Department, advertised consumer loans online.
A victim of the advance fee fraud found the fake loan company online and made two advance payments, for a promised loan. The victim communicated with the perpetrator via e-mail, and in an attempt to continue its ruse, the lender, who identified himself as “Kevin” e-mailed a copy of his own driver’s license; a commercial driver’s license that appeared to have been stolen from an unsuspecting Boise resident.
Upon receiving the complaint, the Idaho Department of Finance immediately communicated with the domain server and was successful in blocking the fraudulent lender’s website. However, the Department warns consumers that online advance fee fraud is rampant and there is no guarantee that the perpetrator will not resurface with a new name and continue its victimization of unsuspecting borrowers searching for online loans.
People are urged to do their research and avoid falling prey to advance fee loan scams. Never pay an upfront fee for a loan, and make certain the company offering the loan is licensed or registered with the Department or a federal regulatory agency.
Gavin Gee, Director of the Idaho Department of Finance, made the consumer alert.
Bottom line, states Gee – “Idaho law as well as federal law, prohibits advance fees to obtain a consumer loan. The Department urges consumers to be extremely cautious when dealing with companies they are not familiar with.” Consumers also need to be vigilant in safeguarding private and personal information such as credit card, social security, and account numbers.