On the border of Iowa and Illinois is the town of Muscatine. A woman in town recently reported a frightening experience in which she narrowly avoided being scammed for hundreds of dollars. Here is the story:
One morning in mid-July, April Garcia received a phone call from an unknown caller. The caller informed her that she was eligible to receive a payday loan of $3,300.
Garcia could not recall having ever applied for the loan.
According to the caller, it would be disbursed to her in monthly installments of $330 a month for the following 12 months.
All she needed to do was wire them $330 for “insurance.”
Garcia was strung along enough to actually wire money to the company. However, when she noticed that the money was being sent to an address in India, she realized she was being duped.
Luckily for Garcia, she had not yet informed the scammers that the money had been sent, allowing her to claim fraud on the transfer and have her money refunded.
Garcia’s case is a fortunate one; most people are unable to see the scam for what it is until it is already too late.
There are a few moments when an informed consumer in Garcia’s situation could have halted the scam before they could be victimized.
- The unsolicited phone call: If you are ever offered something over the phone without having opted in, you should be somewhat suspicious.
- Approval for a loan or offer that was never applied for: This should be an immediate red flag.
- Requiring you to wire money: Never wire funds to any party that you may not know.
In the event that you are contacted by a company similar to the one that contacted April Garcia, you should attempt to find out the name of the caller, who they work for, the address of the business, and any other contact information you can get. You can then relay this information to the Better Business Bureau, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and local law enforcement.