Local single mom falls victim to loan scam
Las Vegas, NV (KTNV) -- Many people try getting a loan when money is tight, but it's important to know who you're doing business with.
One Valley woman tells Contact 13 she's learned an expensive lesson.
"I actually cried, that's how mad and angry I was," said Berenice Arellano.
Arellano is a single mother of two children, and said she's lost a lot of cash. Her money problems started back in March.
"I had lost my mom, and I was trying to catch up with my bills," she said.
Arellano tried applying for a loan, but her bank wouldn't help her. So in September, she turned to an online company called Carr River Lending Center out of Rhode Island.
"I just filled out one app, and I did it and submitted it," she said.
A couple days later, Arellano said she was contacted by Carr River. They emailed her a contract, approving her for a $7,000 loan.
Arellano signed it, agreeing to pay the company back over four years at a fixed interest rate of 8 percent. But before getting the money, she had to pay a fee.
'It was $510 through Western Union," Arellano said.
After writing the payment, Berenice got a call from Carr River. It turns out they wanted more money.
"I was like, for what? This isn't in the contract," Arellano said. "And she's like, you have to. It's due to insurance processing and you have to do it if you want the loan."
The contract Arellano signed only asked for the up-front fee of $510. But Arellano said she was desperate for the loan, so she agreed to wire two more payments -- One fore $350 and another for $300.
"So I called him back and he's like, well actually I just got off the phone with the lender and he wants you to send in $400," Arellano said. "I was like, 'are you kidding me!'"
At that point, Arellano made it clear she wasn't going to be sending them any more money. Carr River claimed they would still work to get her the loan, but they needed another week.
One week later, she still didn't have the loan money. That's when Arellano hit the phones again.
"Just send me my money back," Arellano pleaded. "And he said 'okay, it's going to get processed and you'll get it within 25 days.'"
But more than a month later, Arellano said she hasn't received any refund. She emailed Contact 13 and we called Carr River -- but the line was disconnected.
Both numbers Contact 13 tried did not work, and emails were not returned. Contact 13 called Rhode Island's Secretary of State's office, who told us they have no record of a business license for Carr River.
Rhode Island's Better Business Bureau, which was already investigating the company after receiving complaints, said the company is "believed to be out of business."
"You want to be wary if there's a loan company that requires an advance fee for you to receive that loan," said Katie Robinson with the Southern Nevada Better Business Bureau.
Robinson warns that it's dangerous to wire money, because a company or person can pick up that money anywhere.
In this case, the company claims it operated out of Rhode Island -- but through it's investigation, Rhode Island's BBB said it turns out the company that owns Carr River is actually based in Australia.
"In this case this woman was scammed," Robinson said. "This company clearly had the intention of taking her money and never providing a loan."
Arellano said she's learned her lesson, but is still shocked this could happen.
"It's like wow, I don't know how people can have a heart to do that to other people," she said. "It's been a really tough year."