Lloyds Bank issues warning as text loses woman hundreds

Scams: Woman felt 'violated' after becoming victim of fraudsters

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Sadly, scammers continue to devise new ways to target unsuspecting individuals and get them to part with their hard-earned cash. Lloyds Bank shared the story of Claire*, who had been searching online for loans after receiving an unexpected bill for car repairs.

As a result, she entered her details into a few different comparison sites in the hopes of finding the best offer.

Later that day, Claire received an unsolicited WhatsApp message from someone called ‘Sam’.

Sam claimed to be an account manager for a company called ‘711 Loans’, offering Claire a deal.

He said he could provide a £1,300 loan without any credit checks, and the monthly repayments would be £120.

To complete the application, Claire sent over copies of her birth certificate, passport and utility bills by email. But that was not all when it came to securing this supposed loan.

Sam then told Claire to secure the loan, she would need to pay the first month’s repayment up front via bank transfer – also known as a faster payment – which she did.

Shortly after this, Claire was asked to pay an additional £199 for ‘Payment Protection Insurance’, in case she lost her job while the loan was still outstanding.

However, the attempted payment for £199 was blocked by the bank, and so Sam asked Claire to send the money to a different account.

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It was at this point Claire’s suspicions were raised, and she asked for the initial £120 payment to be returned.

But Sam never responded to her message, and her money was gone forever.

Lloyds has warned this type of scam, commonly known as “advance fee” scams, has surged over the last 12 months.

Reported cases have jumped by 82 percent over the last year, and are continuing to increase.

The bank states the average amount lost by victims is £711 – which is lower than the previous 12 months.

However, it appears to suggest fraudsters may be pursuing a higher volume of lower value scams in the current economic environment.

Liz Ziegler, fraud prevention director at Lloyds Bank, said: “Fraudsters will ruthlessly adapt to any changes in consumer behaviour and, with the increased cost of living putting more pressure on people’s finances, the recent surge in advance fee scams targeting those on low incomes or with a poor credit history is alarming.

“The important thing to remember is that a genuine lender will always conduct thorough credit checks prior to agreeing a loan and won’t ask for an upfront payment before releasing the funds. 

“If you’re concerned in any way about your finances there are lots of reputable organisations that can help, and it always makes sense to speak to your bank first.”

Britons are always encouraged to do their research to ensure they are dealing with a real company, and can check the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) website for more details.

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Individuals should never be asked to pay an upfront fee for a loan from a genuine company, and common excuses for payments in advance from scammers include: 

  • Payment release fee
  • Insurance fee
  • Verification fee
  • Loan company fee
  • Processing fee
  • Guarantor fee
  • Tax payment 

In addition, all reputable organisations will always conduct a thorough credit check before providing a loan.

In the same sense, Britons should avoid any company which stated they can guarantee a loan regardless of someone’s credit status.

Those who are worried about their situation can speak to their bank, who is likely to point them towards trustworthy help. 

*name has been changed to protect the victim’s identity. 

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