Police warning on internet loan scam
8:50am Friday 28th September 2012 in Latest News
THE victims of a ‘sophisticated’ scam have warned others to be wary after they handed over more than £300 as a deposit on a loan that never materialised.
Israr Hassan, 21, and his partner Natasha Biberger, 26, wanted to take out a £5,000 loan to pay for renovation work on her home and turned to the internet to look for competitive rates.
They found a site, input their personal details and then received a phone call from a loan company offering loans for almost any amount.
The company then asked for a deposit to be paid £250 in either UKASH or Western Union vouchers, which are both legitimate forms of payment and are not under investigation, in order for them to process the application. Once the company had the voucher number, the couple, who both live in Kingshill, were told the loan would be in their bank account within minutes but when it did not appear Israr called again and was told a further £125 voucher must be purchased for ‘tax reasons’, which it was claimed would paid back when the loan was sent through.
But the loan was never deposited into their account and after a night of persistent phone calls from Israr, a former soldier, the company called back and became verbally abusive when challenged.
“When I look back on it I feel like such an idiot that I did not spot it – I don’t want it to happen to anybody else,” he said.
“They were quite professional and in the background it sounded like an office. It was a very sophisticated scam.
“My partner has struggled to come to terms with it and it has hit her hard. I just cannot believe it and I want these people to be caught.”
Wiltshire Police have issued a warning to beware of the scam, which has already seen a number of people conned out of considerable amounts of money, with amounts handed over ranging between £200 and £500.
PC Lisa Draper from the Crime Management Unit based in Swindon said: “If you apply for a loan and the company is legitimate then you will never be asked for any money up front.
“No professional company will request vouchers as payment.
“All the major loan companies will deal with repayments via direct debit from your bank account.
“The websites used in these scams are very basic and contain little or no legal information or contact information for the company – simply an online form to fill in.
“Most scams seem too good to be true as they are and many seem very professional and realistic.
“Anyone who thinks they may have also been targeted in this way should contact Wiltshire Police or Crimestoppers where all information can be left anonymously.”
If any member of the public has been offered a loan of this kind or has been victim of fraud, they should contact Wiltshire Police on 101 or Crimestoppers, where information can be left anonymously, on 0800 555 111.