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Scam Artists Steal Identity of Nashville Company

Scam Artists Steal Identity of Nashville Company

CREATED Dec 16, 2009

By Jennifer Kraus

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - If you're short on cash, you might be tempted to get a loan. A word of warning from NewsChannel 5 Investigates is to be careful about just where you go to get a loan.

Consumer investigator Jennifer Kraus found a company offering loans through the Internet. Not only is it a scam, but the company stole the identity of a Nashville based business.

Innovative Financial Group off West End Avenue sells insurance and annuities. They were a little puzzled when they started getting lots of unusual calls earlier this week.

Kathleen Calligan with the Middle Tennessee Better Business Bureau said the callers were asking, ‘Where's my money? Where's my loan?'

Calligan said it's a case of identity theft where scam artists essentially stole the name and reputation of the Nashville company, and used it as their own on a web site where they were pushing something called advance fee loans. The loans require that you pay usually several hundred dollars up front to get a loan.

"If you have to pay in advance a fee for a loan that should be the ultimate red flag that you are dealing with a con artist that is going to take your money, and you're not going to get one red cent in a loan," said Calligan.

She said what made the scam all the more believable was not only that the scammers used the name of a legitimate company, but they also claimed to be accredited by the Better Business Bureau. If you clicked on the BBB logo on the scam web site, you'd get the Nashville company's BBB report.

The scam web site found is registered to a woman in Jamaica. Her listed number is no longer in service and the web site now has been shut down, but that does not mean the end of the scam.

"They'll be back. It's easy money for these scammers," said Calligan.

The scam artists in the case asked that the advance fee be sent by Western Union. Kathleen Calligan said unless you know who you are sending to, never wire money to a company through Western Union or MoneyGram because not only is it usually a scam, but once your money's gone, it's gone.

The FBI and Internet Crime Complaint Center are both working the case.

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