7 On Your Side: Senior citizen victimized by loan scam - KPLC 7 News, Lake Charles, Louisiana

7 On Your Side: Senior citizen victimized by loan scam

Yet another local woman is taken by an advance fee loan scam, and as is so often the case, it's a senior citizen who can least afford to lose the money.

"What I had to do was get a Green Dot money card and put $250 on it to show them in good faith that I would have the money every month to pay the note back, because they were loaning me the money," said June Montalbano. 

It all started with a mailing offering a loan. Montalbano wanted to borrow some money to pay some bills and lower her monthly payments. She applied online and, after they said she'd get a $5000 loan, she did what they told her to do.

"I called them and told them I had it on the card and they said we need the card number to verify that the money's there. Of course, being stupid, I'm sorry, I did. I gave them the number," said Montalbano.

Montalbano knew she had been scammed when, after giving them $250 on a money card, that wasn't enough. They wanted $360 more.

"He said the Attorney General of the State of Louisiana has stated that your credit report is not what it's supposed to be, in the range it's supposed to be, for this type of loan. So we cannot call it a loan. It has to be considered an income and that I would have to pay taxes on that amount," said Montalbano.

Carmen Million with the SWLA Better Business Bureau says the Attorney General's Office doesn't advise loan companies about a consumer's credit history.

"The Attorney General's Office has nothing to do with a consumer's credit rating or whether they get a loan. The credit reporting agencies do," said Million.

She says it's almost always a scam, if they ask for money up front. As well, she says never provide one's social security number, driver's license and banking information online. It could cause you to become a victim of identity theft. Now, Montalbano is in a bind, because she needed the $250 she lost to pay her bills. She speaks out, hoping others will learn from her mistake.  

So, never pay up front for a loan, and before you provide personal financial information online, on the phone or in person -- make sure you know who you're dealing with -- and that they're a reputable business.

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