Governor Rell and Banking Commissioner Pitkin
Force Bogus Credit Offer Web Sites to be Taken Off-Line
Governor M. Jodi Rell and State Banking Commissioner Howard F. Pitkin announced today that because of an investigation by the Banking Department, four Web sites offering “advance fee” loans were taken off-line. Advance fee loans are credit offers which require payments up front, and are illegal in Connecticut.
The Department of Banking recently became aware of four companies that were advertising advance fee loans on the Internet. Three of these claimed to be based in Connecticut. The companies are:
- Cambridge Financial (Hamden, CT)
- Flemington Finance (Hartford, CT)
- Hartford Lending (Hartford, CT)
- EZ Lending (Alabama)
Commissioner Pitkin explained, “In the case of advance fee loan scams, the broker will guarantee a loan or other type of credit, but the consumer must pay a fee, typically by wire transfer, in advance. Once the swindler receives this fee they disappear and the borrower never receives the loan. These fraudulent companies are likely to be located in Canada and base their operation outside the United States in order to avoid legal action.”
The Banking Department investigated the Connecticut locations and found that the companies did not exist. The agency also worked with Alabama regulators, who determined that EZ Lending’s address was in fact an empty lot. The Banking Department has developed a process of working with web hosting companies in order to have the bogus Web sites taken down.
“These companies are in the business of bilking consumers out of hundreds, sometimes even thousands of dollars,” stated Governor M. Jodi Rell. “I am extremely proud of the work of our Banking Department’s Consumer Affairs staff in arranging the removal of those Web sites. Sadly, the Internet has become an ideal resource for con artists who use the obscurity of the Web to pretend to be legitimate lenders. The best advice we can give potential borrowers is to contact the Banking Department to find out if the company they are dealing with is legitimate.”
Most lenders are legitimate professionals. But unfortunately, there are fraudulent companies and loan brokers whose goal is to lure unsuspecting borrowers with empty promises of easy credit.
Consumers are encouraged to contact the Department of Banking’s Consumer Affairs Division, at 860-240-8299 or Toll-free 1-800-831-7225. For more information on advance fee loan scams please check out the Department’s Web site.