Residents are being warned to look out for loan companies trying to con them out of money following an increase in complaints to Merton Trading Standards.
The fraudsters cold call people offering ‘guaranteed’ loans on payment of an upfront fee and without credit history checks. Consumers are asked to send the money through a money transfer company before the loan is provided. Unfortunately the loan does not materialise and the con men disappear with the cash. Another ploy is to request bank card details ‘for security reasons’ and then money is taken from the account without permission.
Many of these companies are using fake names and addresses. There have also been instances where these con artists have ‘hijacked’ the name and/or address details of genuine local businesses.
Trading Standards urge people to check out a company carefully before agreeing to anything. This includes checking the address, asking for a landline number and doing a search online about the organisation. You can also check whether the company has a valid credit licence at http://www.oft.gov.uk/consumercreditregister
Cabinet member for environmental sustainability and regeneration, Councillor Andrew Judge said: ” It is important that residents take every step to ensure the companies that offer loans are legitimate. We don’t want consumers to end up out of pocket so we recommend that if anyone thinks they have been approached or tricked by a loan scam they should report it to Consumer Direct on 08454 040506 or visit http://www.direct.gov.uk/consumer. Our Trading Standards officers will then be alerted to any fraudsters claiming to operate in Merton.”