If you apply for a personal loan but the company you're dealing with wants you to pay them a fee up front, that should raise a red flag. And, it's illegal.
That's the scenario some consumers experienced when they tried to take out a loan with a company called Boardwalk Capital Funding, according to the Mississippi Attorney General and Better Business Bureau, both of which have received complaints.
The attorney general reports that the company solicited business online from cash-strapped consumers around the country, including Florida, Arizona and Ohio. Applicants reported wiring funds and then being asked for additional money when "problems" arose with their loan applications.
In some cases, consumers wired as much as $5,500 to a location in Madrid, Spain. Consumers were told the money was collateral and that additional money was needed because of credit issues or problems with foreign investors, the AG reports.
The company allegedly had an office in Jackson, Miss., but police there have determined the office doesn't exist. Detective Martin Cohan, a cyber-crimes investigator with the Peabody, Mass., police department, began investigating the company after a consumer contacted him. He noted that the company's website, which has been taken down, was registered to a California company. The address, however, leads to the Netherlands, but Cohan believes the operation is based in Canada.
No one from the company could be reached comment.
Bill Moak, President of the BBB serving Mississippi, warns consumers that once they wire funds, they've lost their money.
"We've heard from several consumers that are trying to get their money back," Moak told Consumer Ally. "No one I've heard from has been successful."
The Federal Trade Commission offers some helpful tips on how to avoid advance fee loan scams., visit the Federal Trade Commission's website. The BBB also advises consumers to report such scams to local police or to state or federal authorities.
Warning issued on personal loans charging advance fees