Windsor (September 6, 2019) – Windsor police issued a warning to the public about Advance Fee Loan Scams. The scheme was recently reported to the authorities by three individuals. The Better Business Bureau (BBB) investigated the allegedly fraudulent company, Sherwood Financial Service, and is informing the public that the practice of demanding an upfront fee prior to obtaining a loan, is illegal in Ontario.
Windsor police are investigating
Windsor Police Service Financial Crimes Unit is investigating a suspected fraudulent company due to three reports of alleged victims about advance fee loan scams. The police report states that three individuals applied for an online loan with a company that claims to be located in Windsor, according to its website. The company advertises a loan guarantee regardless of the person’s credit history. The catch is that the person has to pay an upfront fee for the loan. The fee can range from a couple hundred to several thousand dollars. After the individuals paid the advance fee, they never received the loan promised by the company. The police don’t mention the company’s name in their press release. However, they link a report by the BBB which examines the business practices of Sherwood Financial Service.
The BBB reveals that Sherwood Financial Service is conducting Advance Fee Loan Scams
In August 2019, the BBB investigated against Sherwood Financial Service because they had several complaints about the company by so-called BBB Scam Trackers. The BBB declares that the company is offering loans for an advance fee. This practice is illegal in Ontario. Furthermore, the Sherwood Financial Service is not a tenant at the address stated on the website. The police explain that claiming a local address on the website helps the business appear more legitimate to victims. Another red flag is that Sherwood Financial Service is not a licensed lender by the Financial Securities Commission of Ontario (FSCO), according to the BBB. All loan companies conducting business operations in Ontario are required to be licensed by the FSCO.
The Advance Fee Loan Scam targets people who may have difficulty obtaining cash or credit otherwise and therefore, they are vulnerable to be defrauded. Police advise that loans no matter their credit history should be handled with suspicion. Additionally, credit seekers should always do their research on the financial institution, of which they want to conduct the loan. The BBB states four red flags for consumers:
- Beware of companies offering a guarantee on your loan, especially if you have bad credit or no credit.
- Understand that advertising through a recognized media outlet does not ensure an offer’s legitimacy.
- Know that it is illegal for a company to request an upfront fee, prior to obtaining a loan. This includes deposits, insurance, processing fees, or administration fees of any kind.
- Be suspicious if you are asked to deposit payments into a bank account, or send funds through Western Union, MoneyGram, or e-Transfer.
People who have been scammed, the BBB advises contacting local law enforcement and the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre at 1-888-495-8501. The Windsor Police is urging anyone with information to contact Windsor Police at 519-255-6700 ext. 4330, Crime Stoppers anonymously at 519-258-8477 (TIPS) or online at www.catchcrooks.com.