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Sheriff’s department probing loan scam

A loan processing scam based in Canada has netted a few Lawrence County residents.

Monday, February 18, 2002

A loan processing scam based in Canada has netted a few Lawrence County residents.

Sheriff Tim Sexton said a Waterloo man contacted the Sheriff’s Department to report a company advertising in "a local newspaper" offering loans after he contact the company and was given some shaky information. According to police reports, the Waterloo man contacted the company and was asked for information and provided documents for loan processing.

The documents, Sexton reports, where faxed to the loan company and a loan was approved. The company then asked for an "up front sum" for collateral. Sexton said the money was to be sent via a wire transfer to a courier who would deliver the cash.

Sexton said the Waterloo man’s transfer was stopped and the money was not sent.

The sheriff added the two phone numbers called by the Sheriff’s Department were disconnected at the time deputies made calls. The recording announced the calls were made from a Bell Mobility Cellular phone, which has customers in Canada, although the company stated it was from Michigan. The phone and fax numbers given to the Waterloo man, however, were from Ontario, Canada.

Sexton said residents should proceed with caution to avoid being targets of scams.

"Do not provide personal information to ‘unknown’ companies soliciting such information," he said, adding residents should avoid giving checking, savings, or credit card account information.

Sexton said residents can also avoid becoming a victim if they make sure the company is legitimate, and request written information from the company.

He added that if an offer involves "up front money," or a statement such as "you must pay in advance," the residents should stop their involvement because it is a scam.