Office Of Attorney General Issues Consumer Alert On Loan Scam Targeting Watertown Residents

Local Consumers Lose Hundreds Of Dollars After Falling Prey To Lending Scam

Attorney General Calls On Consumers To Report Examples Of This Fraud At: 315-785-2444


WATERTOWN – After reports that Watertown residents have been targeted by a loan lending scam being advertised in the local media, Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman today issued an alert to help consumers protect themselves. In recent weeks, a company identifying itself by telephone as "the new Lending Tree" advertised that it offers various types of loans to individuals regardless of credit history, then stole hundreds of dollars from unsuspecting consumers without providing any services.

“New Yorkers are struggling to get by in this tough economy, and the last thing they need is a loan scam that preys on their hopes, but ends up digging them deeper into debt. Consumers should be careful before they divulge personal or financial information to anyone,” said Deanna Nelson, the Assistant Attorney General-in-Charge of the Watertown Regional Office. “We ask the people of the North Country to please contact our office if they detect scams of this nature.”

The Scam:

  • Company fraudulently uses a familiar business name, promises a loan but requires the consumer to wire a deposit of hundreds of dollars before acquiring the loan. The company refers to the payment as "loan insurance" or as an "application fee."
  • Company asks you for your bank account number, Social Security number, and other personal identifying information.
  • Company either takes a "verbal" application, or faxes a short application form.

How to Protect Yourself:

  • Never give out your personal information (banking, Social Security number, driver license, etc.) to businesses you are unfamiliar with.
  • Never wire money, as it is impossible to trace--remember that the money can be picked up anywhere in the world, and it will be impossible to retrieve after the fact. Reliable businesses typically don't ask you to wire deposits.
  • Deal with people and businesses you can meet with and verify or that come recommended from a trusted source.  

If consumers feel they have been victimized by this lending scam, they are urged to contact the Attorney General's Consumer Helpline in Watertown:  (315) 785-2444.