In every case, the 300+ complainants told the BBB that the businesses used electronic checks to take $30 from their accounts within the past several months. Some consumers said the companies told them the charges were payday loan application fees, even though the consumers maintain they never formally applied for loans. Other consumers said they have no idea where the businesses got their banking information or how they were able to access their accounts.
“These people need to be stopped,” said a Denver, CO. consumer. “How did they get my bank account and social security numbers?” asked a man from Las Vegas, NV. “Please help!!!” pleaded a woman from Milton, DE.
The businesses identified by the BBB are Capital Advance Capitol (also known as Loan Assistance), Ideal Advance, LoanTree Advances, Pacific Advances,Palm Loan Advances, Vantage Funding, and Your Loan Funding. All list addresses at 2780 S. Jones Blvd., Suite 3675, in Las Vegas, NV, which is a mail drop at a mail service office that appears to be shared by several payday loan companies.
Most have virtually identical websites. Only the businesses’ names have been changed. “Get up to $1,000 in as fast as 1 hour!” claim the sites. “4 out of every five applicants is approved on the spot! Get approved for a loan regardless of your credit score or credit history!” The sites have identical testimonials as well.
All have “F” ratings with the BBB for failing to respond to complaints.
George Cartwright, President and CEO of the Las Vegas BBB, said consumers should always be mindful of giving out their personal information. “The lure of quick cash causes people to drop their guard and become victims of these scam artists,” said Cartwright. “It is reprehensible for these types of companies to prey on people who are already experiencing financial difficulties.”
Several of the complainants said they have been promised refunds repeatedly, but never received them. Several also said they were promised $1,000 gasoline vouchers in lieu of a refund, but never received those either.
A consumer from Alton, IL, who receives medical disability benefits, said he had been researching a payday loan on the Internet and was asked to type in bank routing information in the event he applied for a loan. Immediately after entering the information, it appeared that his computer switched to a different website and a message on that site asked whether he wanted to join an online savings club. He said he clicked “no,” and ended his efforts at applying for a loan. He said that soon after that, his bank notified him of a withdrawal by Vantage Funding. “I have talked to them 10 times and I have talked to 10 different people,” he said. “I’ll never do anything like this on my computer again,” he said.
The BBB offers the following tips to avoid losing money in an online payday loan scheme:
Be extremely cautious about providing banking or other personal information to strangers.
Read and understand all “terms and conditions” printed on a website.
Check for BBB Business Reviews by going to www.bbb.orgor by calling 805-963-8657 for the Better Business Bureau of Tri-Counties.
About the BBB
The BBB is a nonprofit, business-supported organization that sets and upholds high standards for fair and honest business behavior. The BBB provides objective advice and free BBB Business Reviews of more than 4 million companies, 11,000 charity reviews, dispute resolution services, alerts and educational information on topics affecting marketplace trust, for consumers and businesses alike. Please visit the website: click here.