Scams Offer Holiday Cash

Pennsylvania banking officials are warning consumers about a new scam in the Pittsburgh area and elsewhere in the state targeting victims looking for holiday cash.
Photo credit Getty Images

PITTSBURGH (KDKA Radio) - Pennsylvania banking officials are warning consumers about a new scam in the Pittsburgh area and elsewhere in the state targeting victims looking for holiday cash.

"These are advanced fee scams," says Secretary of Banking and Securities Robin Wiessmann. "And anyone can be taken. Often people don't like to report these things because there is a sense of shame about being taken."

She says con artists, often overseas, use slick presentations over the phone, email, classified ads, and social media to trick victims into paying large upfront fees to get what will end up being a bogus loan, contracts, investments, or lottery winnings.

The department says the Better Business Bureau Scam Tracker detected 20 advance loan scams in Pennsylvania in 2018. That's up to 31 cases so far this year."Once the money is gone it is very difficult to recoup," according to Wiessman.

Five tips to protect yourself:
  •  Never pay up front for a loan or credit.
  •  Research with whom you are dealing. Check the company's name or call 1-800-PA Banks.
  •  Don't believe in a guaranteed loan. Legitimate lenders NEVER guarantee a loan.
  •  Never pay a "finder's fee" upfront.
  •  Be cautious of a business contact using a post office box, mail drop, or no direct phone number.

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