BBB Shuts Down Scam Sites

BBB Shuts Down Scam Sites

January 16, 2008-Baltimore, MD- As a result of the investigative efforts of Better Business Bureau | Greater Maryland, a new advanced fee loan scam claiming Baltimore residency has been shut down. The scam, Interline Financial, claimed a Baltimore address of 7 Saint Paul St., Suite 5, Baltimore, MD 21202. The scam stole money from consumers by requiring advanced fees be wired to Canada before they were eligible to receive their loans.
Upon investigation of Interline's web site, interlinefinancial.com, BBB found that the testimonials claiming to be from past customers were in fact copied directly from the web site of a BBB Accredited business based out of Nebraska, Credit Advisors. The scam artists failed to replace Credit Advisors company name with their own - leaving evidence of their plagiarism plain to see.
BBB discovered another web site, calstonefinancial.com, that also copied Credit Advisors' testimonials word for word. Due to the nature of this web site, BBB believes Calstone Financial is yet another advanced fee loan scam. Both Calstone and Interline registered their web site's with the web-hosting service company 1 & 1 Internet. Based on similarities between the two, BBB deems that Calstone Financial and Interline Financial may be operated by the same scam artists.
BBB contacted 1 & 1's fraud department and reported its findings. As a result, the two web sites have both been shut down.
One consumer, a US soldier who recently returned home from Iraq, lost over $6,000 in advanced fees to Interline Financial. Being a high risk candidate for a loan, the victim was eager to appease the "application process" in order to obtain the money to buy his fiancĒ an engagement ring. After three separate payments wired to Canada, he suspected foul play. When he requested a refund, he never heard from Interline financial again.
BBB | Greater MD offers tips to keep in mind when applying for a loan:
* Legitimate lenders never "guarantee" or say that you are likely to get a loan before you apply, especially if you have bad credit, no credit or a history of bankruptcy.
* Be wary of companies who require fees be wired before receiving the loan, especially those requesting funds be wired out of the country.
* Read lender's web sites thoroughly. If local contact numbers are missing, chances are the company is a fraud. Read any testimonials and question any that reference a company other than the one with whom you are dealing.
* Advanced fee loan scams often change aliases every 90 days or less so be alert to inconsistencies regarding their name.
* Never give your credit card number, bank account information or Social Security number over the telephone or Internet unless you are familiar with the company and know why the information is necessary.
* If you do not have the offer in hand - or confirmed in writing - and you are asked to pay, do not do it. It is fraud and is against the law.
If you think you have been a victim of an advance fee loan, contact your BBB and the Consumer Protection Division at the Maryland Attorney General's Office.

To file a complaint visit: www.baltimore.bbb.org or write: BBB, 1414 Key Highway, #100, Baltimore MD 21230. Their office serves Baltimore and all of Greater Maryland.