New prepayment scam robs thousands, targets Florida man
CAPE CORAL, Fla .– A loan company’s promises to help ease financial strains have become a nightmare for thousands of people across the country.
“He said it was FDIC insured, Best Business Bureau accredited, and the loan terms were really good with low rates and low payments,” said Justin Drew, a Florida resident who has spoke to Fox Four on the phone.
Drew said he was looking for help with some bills when he turned to Ecapitalloans to break the deadlock.
He says the loan company’s website caught his eye, so he filled out an online application and it wasn’t long before he received confirmation that his loan had been approved.
Drew gave Fox 4 a copy of his 8-page loan agreement which he said was a bunch of false documents.
The documents contain information on safety, security and data protection, but also request several personal information.
“Driver’s license, social security number, banking information,” Drew said.
Ecapitalloans even asked him for passwords and answers to security questions, which he admits struck him as a little odd.
Drew still provided some information because he believed the business was legitimate.
However, it didn’t take long for his suspicions about the loan to be confirmed when he heard from his bank.
“Oh okay, I got $ 348 more. I’m going to use it for shopping and everything. Literally almost two weeks later from my bank I get a copy of the check sent to me saying it’s fraudulent, ”Drew said.
He says Ecapitalloans, which claimed to be insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, deposited a fake check into his account.
They were able to do this with the password they asked Drew by logging into his mobile banking app and forging his signature on the back of a fake check.
After doing more research on the business online, Drew says he found similar complaints for the scam reported on the Better Business Bureau’s website.
“This is just one of many. Scammers are like a mole game. They’re going to build a website, shut it down, then start another,” said Brain Oglesby of the BBB in the West. from Florida.
Oglesby says this is the latest advance loan scam.
The secured loan charges an upfront fee and then deprives applicants of sensitive information and money.
He says that in 2019 it was one of the top five riskiest scams with a median loss of around $ 800.
It was the same year, reports the Federal Trade Commission, that unsuspecting consumers lost a total of $ 1.9 billion to fraudulent acts. Many victims have been lured by promises of debt consolidation and generous personal loans.
“In this case, the company went so far as to use the BBB logo, put it on their website and pretend to be part of the Better Business Bureau,” Oglesby said.
He says falling for these scams these days is easy.
Scammers put fake logos on their ads that trick people into believing they are the real deal.
He says that means consumers have to work harder to protect themselves.
For cases like Ecapitalloans, people have to look for secured loans in advance, unusual payment methods, and upfront payments for any kind of treatment.
More importantly, Oglesby says they should know who they’re doing business with.
“Check out the business, find out the details, see what other customers are saying and see if we identify them as a true accredited business. Also search for this address on Google Maps and see where that address goes,” Oglesby said.
Fox 4 decided to verify the company, but a quick online search shows that the company’s Dallas, Texas address does not exist.
Ecapitalloans, just like Drew’s money, is gone.
“The best defense against scams is to know them, know the telltale signs and warnings, and be a smart consumer so you don’t fall victim to the next scam,” Oglesby said.
If you think you’ve been scammed, it tells you that you should immediately file reports with local law enforcement and the Better Business Bureau.
To check for scams reported in your area or companies that have been identified as a scam, click here for the BBB Scam Tracker.
If you believe your sensitive information has been compromised in a scam, click here to visit IdentityTheft.gov.
ECAPITAL LOANS ON BBB:
FEDERAL COMMERCIAL COMMISSION FOR SCAMS:
BBB SCAM TRACER: https://www.bbb.org/scamtracker
IDENTITY THEFT: https://identitytheft.gov/