A woman in Edmonton shares her story in the hopes that it can stop others from becoming prey to scams with advanced fees.
When Doris Sinnett needed a loan a month ago, she turned to the Internet. A search led her to an online lender who seemed like they would be able to help her – for a fee of $ 500.
“I thought I was really doing my due diligence. I think hindsight is 20/20,” she said Friday. “It sounded too good to be true.”
After sending the papers back, she was told she was approved for the loan. That is until the next day when she was told she should send more money right away.
“I just sent the other $ 500 while talking to him. I said honestly, ‘You just cheated on me, didn’t you?'” She said.
“He said, ‘No, dear, I did not.'”
The Edmonton resident regularly receives training and security updates as part of her job in the insurance industry, so she never expected to become a victim.
“I checked reviews, I checked the website. I thought I ticked each in and crossed every t. I have been trained in this,” Sinnett said.
Then it was a few days of calls that told her they were looking at what happened to her money before Sinnett said her calls, texts and emails started to go unanswered.
She has still never received her loan or the initial payments back, but believes that the people who did this to her are still active. She recently received a random loan offer and saw some of the same names she was dealing with apparently linked to a new company.
Loan fraud is rising
According to the Better Business Bureau (BBB), there has been an increase in loan fraud in 2020 and into 2021.
“As the pandemic continues, we are still noticing a lot of loan fraud, many reports and people are losing even more money,” said spokeswoman Jessie St-Cyr.
BBB’s scam spurs have received reports of more than $ 85,000 in total loan fraud losses this year. Most of that money is not seen again.
“They’re disappearing,” St-Cyr said. “They do not return to phone calls. They block phone numbers. They do not return to emails, and the beautiful site that looked legal when the person was shopping or looking is disabled.
“So there’s virtually no way to recover it or get your money back.”
St-Cyr adds that people after a loan can also be vulnerable to identity theft because of the information shared during the process.
That was something Sinnett was also worried about – she decided to close the account involved to prevent further withdrawals.
Other tips from BBB include checking the creation date of a website.
“If a lender claims it’s been in business for 25 years, but you see the site was set up in July, it’s a big red flag,” St-Cyr said.
Data from the Canadian Anti-Fraud Center shows in 2020 that Canadians lost $ 104 million to reported fraud. Another $ 120 million has already been lost this year.