The Bossier Financial Crimes Task Force is advising residents about a website that promises assistance in securing a personal loan but has left at least one local person at a financial loss.
The website – pinevalleyfinancial.com – may look legit enough but the site has become the target of recent online consumer complaints including one from a Bossier City woman who contacted the task force after her dealings with the site resulted in her losing hundreds of dollars.
The victim tells investigators that she was contacted via email by Pine Valley Financial after she was turned down for a $5000 loan by an online lender with a different name. It’s not known how Pine Valley Financial obtained the victim’s email or how it knew she was trying to obtain a loan. Pine Valley Financial told the victim that they could provide her with the loan however she was instructed to wire them a “collateral security payment” of nearly $800. The victim was told her loan would then almost immediately be wired to her bank account. The victim wired the money to Pine Valley Financial nearly two weeks ago and has never received the loan.
The Bossier Financial Crimes Task Force says the whole thing smacks of a scam. Detectives say you should never have to submit a large amount of money before receiving funds from a loan and never wire any money to a lender.
The Louisiana Attorney General’s Office also recommends consumers watch for these other red flags that can signal a loan scam:
- A lender who isn’t interested in your credit history. Ads that feature phrases such as “Bad Credit? No Problem!” often indicates a scam.
- Fees that are not disclosed clearly or prominently. A phony lender may say you’re approved for a loan but demand a fee before you can get the money. Legitimate lenders often charge application or credit report fees, but these fees are clearly disclosed.
- A loan that is offered by phone.
- A lender who uses a name similar to that of an established, legitimate lender.
The Bossier Financial Crimes Task Force is composed of white collar crime investigators with the Bossier City Police Department and Bossier Parish Sheriff’s Office. Bossier City Chief of Police Shane McWilliams and Bossier Parish Sheriff Julian Whittington formed the task force by combining resources from both agencies to combat crimes such as identity theft, fraud and embezzlement with the city and parish.