Online personal loan scams on the rise in Tampa Bay - WFLA News Channel 8

Online personal loan scams on the rise in Tampa Bay

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When Ron Hollingsworth, of Tampa, needed to borrow money, he went online, looking for a loan. He was quickly approved by a company that called itself Advance America. But there was a big catch.

The company emailed and then called to say he needed to fork over "good faith money." He says he was told to deposit $350 on a pre-paid debit card and give the company the pin number.

"They emailed me, and told me I was pre-approved for $7,000," he said.

Hollingsworth says the company agreed to send his money back, plus his loan of $1,400. But he received nothing.

"I feel terrible. I've never been scammed before."

As crazy as it sounds to pay money in order to borrow money, online loan scams are on the rise.

Nine people contacted 8 On Your Side recently to say they were victims of a variation of this scam. Loan company names vary but the stories are the same. Hollingsworth says he fell for the scam in part because he found a website with the the company logo and it looked real.

News Channel 8 investigated and found out the website is actually for a legitimate payday loan company, Advance America, which is based in South Carolina and has an office in Dade City. Company representatives say scammers continually use their logo and website to try to convince people they are trustworthy.

A company spokesman said the company is working with with law enforcement to track down the scammers.

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