The BBB Serving Greater Iowa has issued a release to help consumers across the country avoid falling for an advance fee loan scam:
Parkside Financial and Moonlight Financial are two advance fee loan companies advertising on the internet and purporting to be from Des Moines, when in fact they are not. The Better Business Bureau is warning consumers that this is a scam. These two companies are targeting individuals who have poor credit history and difficulty obtaining traditional loans.
Each company has their own address, local phone numbers, websites and points of contact. By all appearances, the companies appear to be unrelated. However, after speaking to multiple individuals, it was revealed that the two companies have at least one toll free phone number in common. The BBB has thus drawn the conclusion that the same individuals are perpetuating this scam under at least two different names.
According to consumers, Parkside Financial is located at 660 Douglas Ave. Des Moines, IA 50313. The Better Business Bureau has learned that the purported address is located in between two residential homes. Consequently, mail has been returned as undeliverable. Moonlight Financial Services is another company claiming to be based in Iowa. Their website, www.moonlightfs.com states they are located at 1200 Valley West Dr. Ste. 3 West Des Moines, IA 50266. After speaking to the superintendent of the building, the BBB learned that the suite number is not valid and that they have received similar inquiries about the phantom suite.
Consumers are either solicited by telemarketers or find the company on the internet. They are lead to believe that they are approved for a loan ranging from $5,000 to $10,000. After filling out all necessary paperwork, consumers are then asked to pay an upfront fee ranging from $300 to $3,000. The fee is wire transferred by Western Union to an individual in Canada or in some instances the money is debited directly out of their checking account. No loans are given and once the recipients of this scam receive the money, they cease all contact with the consumer.
These two companies have received over 60 inquiries since May 2009. The Better Business Bureau encourages consumers who feel that they have been victimized by one these companies to contact the Federal Trade Commission at www.ftc.gov. They may also contact their local consumer protection agency and the Internet Crime Complaint Center at www.ic3.gov.
The Better Business Bureau offers these tips for spotting an advance fee loan scam:
Pressure to act immediately. Advance fee loan scammers will try to get you to send money or give out personal information before you get any paperwork. Insist on receiving the necessary paperwork before deciding whether or not to apply for credit.
Lenders not interested in your credit history. Lenders who don’t care about your credit record should be cause for concern. Ads that downplay bad credit and ads promising fast money or guaranteed approval often indicate a scam.
A loan that is offered by phone. According to the FTC, it is illegal for companies doing business in the U.S. by phone to promise a loan or ask you to pay for it before they deliver.
When in doubt, contact your BBB.