After issuing an alert last week about Fraser Brokerage, a fraudulent online entity claiming to offer consumers advance fee loans, the Better Business Bureau of Minnesota and North Dakota (BBB) has discovered another company, Wakefield Financial, making the same fraudulent offer and also claiming a Fargo address. The BBB has already received four complaints against Wakefield Financial, and in each case consumers wired advance fees and then never received the loans they were never promised.
“Two fraudulent companies like this each claiming a Fargo address in this short of a time period is very unusual,” said Dana Badgerow, president and CEO of the BBB. “But we feel it means the scammers know the Fargo-Moorhead business community is comprised of trustworthy, ethical companies, and thus pretending to be located there will give their false claims more credence.”
Many companies advertise easy loans online at favorable rates, and then seek payments from consumers in advance to secure these alleged loans. Unfortunately, these loan offers are not legitimate and are targeted at customers and companies who are struggling with debt and poor credit, often making bad situations worse. It is the experience of the Better Business Bureau that customers who pay these upfront fees never receive their loans. Generally, once the requested fees are paid the companies making the offers cease contact or their phone numbers are eventually disconnected.
The BBB of Minnesota and North Dakota has awarded Wakefield Financial a rating of “F” due to their nature of business.
To avoid falling victim to advance fee loan offers, the BBB advises the following:
- If you’re asked to pay a fee upfront or wire funds (or send money via MoneyPak) to receive your loan, the offer is not legitimate. According to the Federal Trade Commission, it’s illegal for companies doing business by phone in the U.S. to promise you a loan and ask you to pay for it before they deliver. Requiring advance fees for loans is also illegal in Canada.
- Be especially leery of websites that provide no contact information and promise fast, easy loans to all who apply regardless of credit.
- Be sure to check the company’s Business Review with the Better Business Bureau at www.bbb.org.
- Remember, the Internet is full of bogus offers. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is!
The mission of the Better Business Bureau is to promote through self-regulation, the highest standards of business ethics and conduct, and to instill public confidence in responsible businesses through programs of education and action that inform, protect and assist the public. Contact the BBB at www.thefirstbbb.org or 651-699-1111, toll-free at 1-800-646-6222.