The office of New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman Wednesday issued an alert about a phone scam targeting residents of Watertown. A spokesman says three victims so far have contacted the office and have each lost between $300 and $700 to the scam.
The scam offers consumers a loan, then asks them to wire the company hundreds of dollars – a supposed “application fee” or “loan insurance.”
The company calls itself “The new Lending Tree,” using the name of a legitimate business to gain consumers' trust. It asks for consumers' bank account number, Social Security number and other personal information.
The company promises loans regardless of credit history, but fails to provide any services once the victim has wired money. The company either takes an application over the phone, or faxes an application form.
The state Attorney General's office reminds people not to give out any personal information to unfamiliar businesses. Legitimate businesses will never ask you to wire money, as it is impossible to trace and retrieve. Consumers looking for loans should only obtain them through familiar, trusted sources.
Anyone victimized by this lending scam is urged to contact the Attorney General's Consumer Helpline in Watertown at (315) 785-2444.