GARDAI have issued a warning to members of the public about websites which are offering unsecured loans to vulnerable persons who are seeking money.
A number of websites which are targeting persons who have had difficulty obtaining loans from established financial institutions have been identified by the Garda National Economic Crime Bureau and the Central Bank.
The scam works when the victim applies for a loan through a website that offers loans, insisting it will be processed quickly. The website may also claim that loans are available without the need for a good credit rating or the need to provide collateral for the loan and/or to provide any documentation apart from basic personal details.
"I do understand that some of these websites are saying they are supported by the Central Bank but that is not true," said Sergeant Ber Leetch, divisional crime prevention officer.
According to gardai, the victim will receive a call or communication within a very short time (often minutes) of applying informing them that their loan application has been approved and providing details of the amount of the loan and the monthly repayment
They will then be asked to send an amount of money to the lender in advance of the loan amount being issued, with different reasons given for this advance fee.
Some of the reasons given for this request are the need for an up-front fee; to pay for Personal Protection Insurance on the loan amount; to discharge overseas taxes; to show that the victim has the ability to meet the loan repayments
Gardaí are warning, no loan monies are ever issued and the advance fee is lost.
"My advice goes back to the simple thing - if is seems too good to be true, if if comes out of the blue, if they are askign for too many personal details and there is money involve dit is very likey a scam," said Sgt Leetch.