Many people have been targeted by advanced-fee scams that attempt to con them out of their hard-earned money. With the advent of the digital technology, scammers are finding new avenues to target their victims and companies have warned of an upsurge in fraudulent activity.
The formula is simple: victims are promised large sums of money in the form of a loan but are required to pay a comparably small “fee” upfront. To carry out their ruse, scammers typically impersonate a well-known loan provider and claim that to be offering a large, low-interest loan.
“We have seen an increase in incidents of fraud, specifically advanced-fee scams,” says James Williams, the head of marketing at Wonga SA. “What is most concerning is how ‘slick’ these scams have become, with fraudsters posing as Wonga in calls, emails, text messages and even social media posts that bear an uncanny resemblance to our own communications.”
Scammers often follow a formula. To help people identify and avoid these scams, Wonga has laid out the steps con-artists typically follow:
1. Contact. Commonly, scammers pose as Wonga contact victims through text messages, email and fake Facebook or Twitter accounts. They send victims friend requests or comment on Facebook or Twitter posts advertising the fact that they are loan consultants. The scammers usually claim to offer low interest rates, well below the prime lending rate. They also claim to provide loans to blacklisted people without the need for credit checks.