BBB warns folks about online payday loan companies

Posted at 7:23 PM, Mar 16, 2012
and last updated 2012-03-16 19:23:12-04

RICHMOND, Va. (WTVR) - The Better Business Bureau, and a Central Virginia woman, has a warning for folks about alleged payday loan service scammers.

One woman believed a caller who told her that she owed money. She thought it was legitimate because she had provided some personal info to get an online loan the day before.

"As soon as she told me what was going on, red flags came up with me," said Bruce Craig, the woman's husband. "I asked them point blank, 'is this some kind of scam you're trying to run on my wife?'”

Craig said this all started when his wife started searching the web for some quick cash.

"As soon as she went online for the payday loans, the emails was just flooded with offers,” said Craig.

Craig said the offers came from numerous lenders and third party sites. However, after Craig's wife as approved for a $450 loan, the next day a representative in California claiming to be from "Cash Advance" called.

According to her husband, the guy said she owes $4,500.

Craig said the caller instructed his wife to go to Walmart a buy a pre-paid Visa card to send a $1600 payment within two hours.

"If they didn't receive the information from that card they were going to take action with some federal warrants and have the Sheriff's officers come and arrest her,” said Craig. “And then, they were going to go to her place of employment."

The Better Business Bureau's Tom Gallagher said folks should beware of internet payday loans.

"If you're talking about borrowing money, even if it's $450, and you're talking about it at 2 or 300 percent," said Gallagher. "And if that thing goes out over a year or so. Heaven only knows how much money you're talking about".

Craig claims the only information the payday lender had was his wife’s name and the last four digits of her Social Security number.

But, Gallagher said that is just enough information to make anyone a target.

“If they’re willing to do that, and they can’t find a person, that would be an easy way to do a skip trace on somebody who is borrowing that money. And once you get into these things, remember it’s a vicious, vicious cycle,” said Gallagher.