Knox County woman victim of consolidation loan scam

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A Knox County woman is sorry for responding to a text from a scammer offering to consolidate her debt.

Fraudsters are constantly looking for people who are looking for loans on the Internet. Scammers know they may be able to hook someone into their trap with false sincerity and kind words.

It was late November when Debra Dougherty searched the Internet for a loan company that could help her consolidate her growing debts. Dougherty said she needed a $ 10,000 consolidation loan to ease the burden of credit cards and personal debt. During the day, Dougherty received an SMS. She was lucky, at least she believed so.

“I got a text from Advance America that’s what they said it was. Yes, Advance America,” Dougherty said.

Advance America says it arranges installment loans to qualified clients, not consolidation loans. Dougherty didn’t know it and didn’t realize what was going to happen.

“He said I had been approved for the text loan. So I was okay, I’m going to call him and find out what the details are, ”she said.

Dougherty says the man asked for more information so he could perform a credit check – things like his bank account numbers, passwords and Social Security numbers.

Once the scammer convinced her to divulge everything confidential, he still wasn’t done. Now he wanted Doughtery’s money. Knowing his bank numbers, he deposited nearly a thousand dollars into his account to boost his credit. But he called back with bad news.

“He tells me that my credit rating is not high enough to get the loan,” Dougherty said.

Thus, a second check was sent to his account to increase his score. Next, Dougherty was told that a Federal Trade Commission “Paco Verbitski” needed almost $ 600 to adjust his score.

“He tells me to wire the money. So I end up going to Walmart, ”she said.

She bought a Moneygram from Walmart and sent the money. To further cover up the scam, Dougherty received confirmation of the deal – a contract from Cash USA, not Advance America.

Advance America, a legal provider of payday loans and other financial services, warned that there was “a wave of consumer consolidation loan scams across the country.”

“Okay, I closed my checking account. I put a fraud alert on my credit cards and a fraud alert on my credit reporting agencies, ”said Dougherty.

Dougherty is $ 600, but it could have been more.

“I should have checked a little further. I really messed up. Instead of helping, it made it more difficult. Because I lost money, you know, ”Dougherty said.

Over the years, WATE 6 On Your Side has warned you about tough debt consolidation loans with companies that combine your unsecured debt into one monthly bill with the illusion of a lower interest rate. . Debt consolidation is a refinanced loan with extended repayment terms, and extended terms means you’ll be in debt for longer.

A lower interest rate is not always a guarantee when consolidating, and debt consolidation does not mean eliminating debt.


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