Trading standards officers at East Riding of Yorkshire Council are warning that Driffield and beverley people are being targeted by bogus loan operators trying to con them out of hundreds of pounds.
The loan firms are targeting those with a poor credit rating who have been searching online for a loan.
Trading standards officers warn that the firms are contacting potential customers by text, email or cold call and misleading some people into handing over money upfront for loans that are never arranged.
The officers report that this is a new type of scam nationally and there are reports of applicants in the East Riding paying hundreds of pounds by bank transfer to get a loan quickly, but then receiving nothing in return.
Bogus firms are not authorised to provide credit services and customers who use them have little or no chance of getting their money back when they make an upfront payment for a loan.
Cllr Jackie Cracknell, portfolio holder for community involvement and performance, said: “These firms are targeting those who can least afford to lose money. Anyone who is experiencing financial difficulty should seek independent advice from a recognised organisation such as the government’s Money Advice Service on www.moneyadviceservice.org.uk or 0300 500 5000.”
The advice of trading standards to those looking for a loan is to always check out loan firms by looking online at www.fca.org.uk or by calling 0800 111 6768.
Those who think they have paid money to a bogus loan firm, should report it to Action Fraud at www.actionfraud.police.uk or by calling 0300 123 2040.
Firms or individuals can only operate a credit business in the UK if they are registered or authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). Bogus firms are known to give a false address or company registration number making it appear they are UK-based when they could be located thousands of miles away, leaving consumers with little or no chance of getting their money back.
The advice from trading standards is not to give bank details to cold callers, ask for the firm’s contact details and reference number and check them against the FCA register, make further checks on limited companies through the Companies House website, www.companieshouse.gov.uk/ and to register with the Telephone Preference Service to avoid unwanted sales calls www.tpsonline.org.uk.
For general advice or information on loan scams or other consumer matters, contact Citizens Advice consumer service on www.adviceguide.org.uk or call 08454 040506.