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November 01 09:22 AM

Task force warns of bogus loan Web site

PRESS REALASE

The Bossier Financial Crimes Task Force is advising residents about a Web site that promises assistance in securing a personal loan but has left at least one local person at a financial loss.

The Web site — pinevalley financial.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 told investigators that she was contacted via e-mail by Pine Valley Financial after she was turned down for a $5,000 loan by an online lender with a different name. It is not known how Pine Valley Financial obtained the victim’s e-mail 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 indicate a scam.

— Fees that are not disclosed clearly or prominently. A p hony 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 whitecollar crime investigators with the Bossier City Police Department and the Bossier Parish Sheriff’s Office.

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