Gardaí warns of new fraudulent loan program targeting cash-strapped citizens before Christmas

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A warning from GARDA has been issued regarding fraudulent loan programs that extend the upfront fees of cash-strapped citizens seeking funds before Christmas.

Ahead of the holiday season, the Garda National Economic Crime Bureau is alerting the public to ongoing advance charge fraud linked to websites offering unsecured loans.

The force warned that there are a number of websites offering unsecured loans targeting financially vulnerable people who have difficulty accessing loans from established financial institutions as part of a fraud known as ” advance fee fraud ”.

The GNECB explained how the money is obtained from the victims looking for a loan.

“The victim identifies a website offering loans that are processed quickly and without security.

“The entity will often state that it is regulated by the Central Bank of Ireland (the website or company behind it generally will not be regulated). They will provide an Irish address (usually wrong).

“The loan applicant will then complete an online application and will receive a call or communication within a very short time (often a few minutes) informing them that their loan application has been approved, and will inform them of the loan amount and the amount of the loan. the monthly repayment. Sometimes they will offer more than what was wanted. The fraudulent loan agency will then ask the applicant to send a small amount of money before the loan amount issued, with different reasons given for these upfront fees.

Some say it is a set-up fee, payment of personal protection insurance on the loan amount or the first installment of the loan to show that the victim has the capacity to meet the loan repayments. .

In one of these reported incidents of advance fee fraud, a person living in the Dublin area contacted a business seeking a loan. They were asked to post a deposit of € 680 to secure the loan and when they transferred the money they did not receive the money and had no way of contacting the company.

The aggrieved party will transfer the amount requested to obtain the loan in good faith but no loan is ever issued and the advance fee is forfeited.

In one of these reported incidents of advance fee fraud, a person living in the Dublin area contacted a business seeking a loan. They were asked to post a deposit of € 680 to secure the loan and when they transferred the money they did not receive the money and had no way of contacting the company.

Highlighting the warning signs of these websites, the GNECB pointed out:

  • With the lender asking for payment in advance, the website providing a quick and easy way to get a loan online, and then the loan being approved very quickly are all warning signs.
  • The loan seeker may also be forced to make the prepayment immediately, often on the grounds that the loan offer will be withdrawn if the fees are not paid.
  • These entities offering the loan will have a false address, false or otherwise incorrect postcode for the address on the website and the advertised phone number will not work.
  • No proof is sought of the person’s ability to repay the loan and no guarantor or guarantee will be sought.
  • Other warning signs include a lack of face-to-face meetings, the lender will not be regulated by the Central Bank of Ireland, and the loan seeker may receive requests for advance payment via cryptocurrency.

Gardaí advises members of the public to:

  • Never pay money up front to the lender before the loan amount is withdrawn
  • Never apply for a loan from an entity that is not regulated by the Central Bank of Ireland
  • Always check the official website of the Central Bank of Ireland to see if the company mentioned on the website is regulated to provide financial services in Ireland: http://registers.centralbank.ie/
  • Always look for the entity offering the loan, its address, zip code and phone number to verify legitimacy
  • Use legitimate financial service providers and take advantage of the services provided by MABS.


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