Just wanted to give everyone a heads up. I applied for a $5000 loan through two companies. Premier1Financial and Cedarwood Financial Group. I was "approved" but the required collateral 4 to 5 months payment in advance. RED FLAG. They sent me loan documents which looked semi-legitimate but had a few red flags primarily no information as to how the payments would be made (i.e. no info on sending a coupon book and not even requesting checking account information so they could debit payments).
When I called each one of them back (this time knowing something wasn't right) they both requested that the money be sent via Western Union. I knew something was up then and immediately hung up. I reported both companies to the FTC and will be filing complaints with the local BBB and my state attorney general's office.
Unfortunately, both of these companies now have my SS# and date of birth. It was part of the application so I did put fraud alerts on my credit report. Luckily nothing has come up since I last checked which was two weeks ago. The fraud alter last for 90 days. Hopefully I am safe but will keep checking.
Some read flags to look for...
*asking for a wire transfer to an individual - When I told the "account executive" I wouldn't be able to send the money until Friday, he told me to call back that morning so he could give me the name of the person to whom I should send the funds. I might be desperate and strapped for cash but I aint' stupid. ;)
*asking for money upfront PERIOD...apparently this is against US law. Any so called fees should be taken out of the actually loan. Nothing should ever come out of pocket.
*loan documents don't have any information as to how you the lender will pay back the money.
*On the websites the page for application is not secure (i.e. web address did not begin with "https")
*A lot of these "companies" change names all the time so even if you do look them up on this website or the BBB in their area you might not find anything. (I looked both of them up and found nothing). Your best bet is to check to see if they are a licensed lender in YOUR state. You can find this information on your state attorney general's website. Any company that lends money must be licensed to do so in the state in which they are doing business. There was obviously no listing for either one of these companies.
I hope this helps some folks. I'm struggling for funds right now but I have been in a much deeper hole if I had of sent them that money. I will have to stay on top of my credit report and hopefully they won't be able to do too much information.
So for the moderators....
I am slightly concerned about ID theft. Do I need to do more than the fraud alert on my credit reports? My credit is so bad at the moment I don't think there is much damage they can do but I do want to take all necessary steps to protect myself.
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