How to Protect Yourself from Cloned Loan Companies
Fraudsters and con artists are everywhere, and the internet has only given them access to a wider marketplace of trusting consumers. Whether they’re selling things through social media or attempting to trick people into giving up sensitive and personal information, an increasing number of people are at risk for getting their money, information or even identity stolen.
It becomes even trickier if you’re looking for a payday loan to help cover a sudden expense or bill. Firms or individuals known as ‘cloned loaners’ often set up sites or offer easy, quick money to people with bad credit, a low credit score or little savings in an attempt to scam them out of the little money they do have and then some. If you’re someone looking to find a quick, short-term loan to cover an unexpected cost, then you should know just how to protect yourself against cloned loan companies looking to scam you. But how do we know which are genuine and which are fake?
What are cloned loan companies?
Cloned loan companies, according to the Financial Conduct Authority, are fraudulent companies or individuals pretending to be an authorised loan company.
They use an FRN (Firm Registration Number) that is not theirs but has been deemed reputable to the FCA, to scam customers out of their money. Often, these scammers act as cold-callers or operate through spam email addresses. They advertise opportunities for quick cash that are impossible, not worth very much or don’t even exist at all.
Clone firms often claim to represent well-known firms that have approved licenses from the FCA and will give you their own information, including a phone number, email address or premises address to appear genuine. They can sometimes claim to be registered with a financial authority overseas or that their listing has expired.
Clone companies are often incredibly good at covering their tracks and making it seem as though they’re genuine, which can make it easy for vulnerable consumers to fall for their scams.
What can I do to protect myself?
It may seem as though every payday loan company you come across could be a scam, so it’s worth doing your research to see what’s out there. Authorities like the FCA keep an up-to-date list of all the companies legally allowed to lend money to consumers, which is freely available online through their website.
If you want to double-check that these companies are genuine and do exist within the United Kingdom, you can access records held by Companies House (who by law have to keep a record of all publicly trading companies within the United Kingdom), Directory Enquiries or even just with a quick Google search. There are lots of forums run by and for consumers where people can record if they’ve had experiences with fraudulent companies, so have a look around to see what other customers are saying before going forward. This is especially useful if you’ve been cold called or sent a spam email that seems too good to be true!
Refer to ranking websites
If you’re planning on taking out a short term or payday loan, there are many ways to get this – even if your credit score is low. Clone companies prey on people who often have nowhere else to turn in times of financial crisis, so it’s important to see who is out there and which companies can be trusted. There are plenty of websites that rank and compare the top loan companies in the UK, giving their reviews so you can know which loan providers are to be trusted and which you should be wary of. Generally, companies registered with the FCA and who advertise on television or publicly are not cloned companies and can usually be trusted with short term loan provision- though make sure to read the small print if you decide to move forward.
Use FCA approved companies
The FCA highly recommends only dealing with loan companies who have been approved by their authority and can be easily verified. If you believe you have been scammed, you should report it immediately to the FCA so they can further investigate. Never give your money or personal financial information to a company unless you are sure they are genuine.
What LoanPig won’t do
As our application process is all online, we will never call you to ask you any personal questions or pressure you into a loan.
LoanPig will never ask you for any money to set up a loan
Please be wary of anyone who calls you out of the blue, asks for an upfront payment to arrange the loan or asks you for sensitive information
If you are unsure about anything, or someone has called you pretending to be us, then contact us and let us know so we can report them directly to the police