- 1 Who is Memphis Associates?
- 2 The Lender Doesn’t Ask for Your Payment History
- 3 The Lender is Not Licensed in Your state
- 4 The Lender Asks for Fees Up Front
- 5 The Lender Reaches You via Phone, Mail, and In-person Visits
- 6 The Company Website is Not Secure
- 7 The Lender Does Not Have a Physical Address
- 8 The Lender Promises Guarantees
- 9 The Lender is Unwilling to Share Details About Their Fees
- 10 How to Deal with Scammers
Who is Memphis Associates?
Memphis Associates loan offers are bait and switch. Memphis Associates has begun flooding the market with debt consolidation and credit card relief offers in the mail with the website mymemphisassociates.com. The problem is that the terms and conditions are at the very least confusing, and possibly even suspect. The interest rates are so low that you would have to have near-perfect credit to be approved for one of their offers. Best 2020 Reviews, the personal finance review site, has been following Memphis Associates, Tate Advisors, Plymouth Associates, Neon Funding, Polk Partners, Ladder Advisors (also known as Carina Advisors, Corey Advisors, Pennon Partners, Jayhawk Advisors, Clay Advisors, Colony Associates, and Pine Advisors, etc.).
As election day nears and the pandemic continues to ravage lives and topple businesses, many scammers take this as an opportunity to ramp up their criminal activities. Their typical modus operandi is to call victims and inform them that their loan offers have been pre-approved – often in the ranges of $20,000 to $40,000.
The scammers then claim that qualifying for the loan will require an up-front payment of $500 amount of cash for ‘processing and loan fees’. Common methods include gift cards, TransferWise, prepaid debit cards, or other (usually untraceable) means. Once unsuspecting customers send the money, the emboldened scammers then ask for a further $900 to get approved.
To make their call sound legitimate, the scammers often provide victims with a fake loan application and phony loan approval documents. Customers who aren’t aware of these practices fall for the fake application. They are lured in by the promise of credit card relief.
It is worth pointing out that no reputable lenders will charge consumers an upfront fee to get approved for a loan. Their method of revenue generation is via the interest payments on the loan, not up-front fees. Even if the loan comes with processing fees, the creditor would deduct the fee from the loan or include it as part of the total amount that consumers will have to pay via monthly installments.
Another popular method is to lure victims with online advertisements targeting people with poor credit to call on a toll-free number or visit a website that looks credible. But just because a scammer has a website doesn’t mean they are authentic.
The methods are so effective that in 2019, consumers lost a total of $1.9 billion to fraudulent practices according to the FTC.
The Georgia Attorney General has asked consumers to be ward off fraudsters by learning how to spot the most common signs of scams. Below are the 7 red flags you’re dealing with scammers.
The Lender Doesn’t Ask for Your Payment History
Reputable lenders will look at your credit history to assess your risk profile. They will obtain reports from all three major credit bureaus (Transunion, Experian, and Equifax). The information will reveal whether you have a history of paying your bills on time and in full to assess that you’ll pay back their loan on time.
Fraudsters, however, are not interested in timely repayments. They often target high risk customers who are more likely to miss payments, which can trigger late fees and other penalties. It is true that reputable loans also offer bad credit loans, they will still ask for information such as your income, employment history, and education before approving any loan.
The Lender is Not Licensed in Your state
The FTC requires lenders to registering the states that they conduct business in. If the lender you’re interested in does not list their registered states, you may have spotted a scam activity. Their website should contain a list of states that you can verify with the Department of Financial Regulation or Department of Banking in your state.
This step will stop the vast majority of scammers.
The Lender Asks for Fees Up Front
Most scammers will ask customers for money upfront in order to qualify for their loans. Their preferred methods of payment would be prepaid debit cards or gift cards, both methods are virtually untraceable. If you voluntarily give up the requested money, you will have a hard time recovering it and the scammer could get away with it.
The Lender Reaches You via Phone, Mail, and In-person Visits
Reputable lenders will advertise their methods through mass media such as search engines, televisions, and print magazines. If, however, you get loans offers by any other means such as phone, mail, and in-person visits, you could be dealing with a scam. Based on regulations by the FTC, it is illegal for lenders to offer loans in the US via phone ask as you for payment before they deliver.
No reputable lender will reach you via phone, through mail, or in-person solicitation.
The Company Website is Not Secure
One of the most definitive means of detecting a scammer is to see if their website is secure. When visiting their site, you should always look for the following:
- HTTPS on pages that ask you to provide personal information
- A padlock symbol indicating SSL encryption
If you use a browser like Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox, you’ll receive a warning about websites that are not secured via SSL.
Not having HTTPS means that any information you enter can be intercepted by thieves who steal personal information to further their criminal activities.
The Lender Does Not Have a Physical Address
All reputable lenders have a physical address where they operate from. Make sure to plug the given address on a tool like Google Maps. A loan scam will often list addresses that are vacant lots or PO box addresses.
If you don’t fund signs of a physical address, it is better to avoid dealing with them. Scammers will always try to create as much distance between themselves and their victims, and will never provide their actual address.
The Lender Promises Guarantees
When it comes to the loan approval processes, there are no guarantees. Companies that claim otherwise are probably scammers. Reputable lenders will first investigate the borrower’s credit history, debt ratios, employment, and education before giving them approval.
Debt scammers will try to avoid sharing details about their fees and won’t disclose it even if you request the information from them. In contrast, legitimate companies will be completely transparent about their fees on their website. If your ID doesn’t disclose all of the fees upfront, you could be involved in a loan scam.
How to Deal with Scammers
If you believe you’ve spotted scammers, report it to the authorities immediately. Make sure to compile as much documentation as possible and present it to the authorities. Call law enforcement, contact the AG’s office, the BBB, and FTC. Armed with your complaint and provided documentation, these authorities will be able to thwart scammers and save consumers’ money.
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