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Sunday, August 4, 2013

Victims of Fraud and Identity Theft - Think Cash and Payday Loan Customers

Beware - Scam and Fraud Alert for Present and Past Payday Loan Customers

Let's face it, every once in a while, the average American may find him/herself in a financial bind. There are always the unexpected or unprepared for expense, like a medical emergency, car repair or busted air conditioning unit. Yes, life has a way of presenting us the sudden financial woe that was not included on our budget. It may be that payday is a mere week or month away and we find ourselves having to turn to a payday loan or cash advance lender. Most financial institutions strongly advise against these lenders due to their excessively high interest rates but oftentimes, when faced with extenuating circumstances, one has no other choice.

Unfortunately, there is now a more dangerous or sinister side to these cash advance loans. Customers of these lenders, have now become the target of scam artists.

A few years ago, I too had such an emergency and availed of a necessary cash advance, not withstanding the interest rates. Certainly, there are times when one is in a desperate situation and such lenders are readily available to provide a loan that one may not have otherwise been approved for, at a conventional bank or credit union. I was granted the loan, and had it repaid within a two month period. Months after, I received a telephone call from a gentleman with an accent, claiming that he represented Think Cash Loans and that my account had been in a negative standing and that there was in fact an unpaid balance. He insisted that I take care of the balance immediately, amounting to several hundred dollars. This individual was privy to my name, address, social security number and work information. Though I was certain that the debt had been repaid, having someone sound this convincing and credible did for a minute, create a substantial degree of doubt in my mind. I asked that he mail me an invoice. He asserted that my account was beyond written communication and that the matter could only be resolved with an immediate credit card payment. I refused to make any payment and subsequently informed the gentleman that I would have to further research my records to determine if there had been an oversight on my part.

Later, I did a search on the telephone number from which his call originated, only to find out, that others had received similar calls from that same number and that it was nothing but a scam seeking to swindle this company's present and previous customers.

Maybe the most disturbing fact here, is that these persons are privy to very sensitive information. One may be led to wonder by what means is this information being accessed. Is this an inside job whereby the lender's staff is selling customer information? Is it a hacking incident, where scammers are able to retrieve information on present or past loan customers? Regardless, Think Cash Loans needs to look into the matter of security and the buyer needs to BEWARE!! Did you know that there is a correct procedure to handling collections and collection calls?

A dear friend has unfortunately fallen prey to this scam. Sadly, after the person on the other side of the telephone line quoted her social security number, she gave her credit card information and now the rest is history. Maybe she can file a claim that it was a fraudulent transaction. Maybe she will get her money back, all nine hundred dollars of it, maybe she won't. In the meanwhile there is an unscrupulous scam artist, somewhere out there, with her personal and banking information.

This article is by no means an attempt to defame the name of this lender or deface its character, but rather an attempt to alert the public to a very deceptive practice by scam artists to use "Think Cash Loans" and other cash advance lenders' customers, as their next scamming target. This is to remind the reader to totally investigate any telephone request for unpaid balances. Take the time to contact the lender, regardless to the persistence of the caller and verify balances and claims that balances have been sent to collection agencies. If you have the slightest doubt, stop and check it out. Do not ever remit payments on the telephone unless you are absolutely certain of the one on the other line. Make no mistake, these individuals make quote your social security number!!! They will sound very legitimate. They will be threatening!! It is all up to us, the consumers, to stop and check the source of the call. It will only take a couple of minutes to contact the lending company, to determine whether or not there is in fact an unpaid balance.

The Department of Justice has a treasure load of information about different types of scams and hoaxes on its website. It also does well in defining identity theft and identity fraud. They have several examples of schemes and offer several tips on how to secure your identity and what to do in the event that it is compromised.

If you were unfortunate to fall victim to this or any scam, immediately report it to the police and contact the company the person claimed to be representing. You may need to alert your banking institution, cancel bank cards or accounts that you gave to the scammer. I strongly advise everyone reading this article to investigate the benefits of credit monitoring Some companies will for a reasonable and minimal fee, keep your credit screened for any enquiries or attempts to open new lines of credit. The peace of mind of having such a service, sometimes offering up to a million dollar guarantee is worth its weight in gold. The support that most reputable credit monitoring services offer, should the safety of your identity or the integrity of your credit be compromised, is immeasurable.

Be aware that there are many, many unscrupulous individuals out there, whose sole intent, is to prey on the weak. They will use any means necessary to get into your wallet. They are evil individuals who have absolutely no conscience. They will steal from babies and the aged without a shred of remorse. Let us be more aware that they are out there and take better precautions to safeguard our assets and our identities.


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