South County woman learns tough lesson about bogus lender

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(KTVI) - A South County woman learns a tough lesson after agreeing to terms offered by a bogus lender. In September Sheri Black did an online search for loans. Soon after, an email arrived approving her for a $5,000 dollar loan from Advance America. The terms were reasonable according to Sheri. 'It seemed like a good deal for a $5,000 loan. And it was only ten percent interest for 48 months.'

Sheri says that she gave her bank account information to a man she thought worked for Advance America. 'He went over the contract with me and he said we need to do a verification process.   He sent money to my account and I had to money gram it back to them.'

That happened three more times. Over $3,000 dollars worth of checks were deposited into Sheri's account.   As instructed she wired all the money back. But then tells me she couldn't reach anyone. 'I called that phone and they said the Majic Jack customer you have dialed is unavailable so I`m like he doesn`t have a business phone so there`s something wrong with this. '

There is an Advance America lender on line. But it appears Sheri was talking to someone who'd hijacked the logo of the actual lender. Unfortunately she had not seen a warning on the company's website. It says:   These scam artists, posing as Advance America representatives to collect money from unsuspecting consumers, are in no way affiliated with the company.

Sheri's bank, PNC holds her responsible for at least a portion of that $3,000 dollars. The bank took her next direct deposited paycheck. A statement from PNC Bank`s Corporate Media Communications says: If a customer provides their account credentials, they have authorized the transaction. Typically, when a customer authorizes a transaction, it becomes their responsibility.

This was a tough lesson to learn according to Sheri. 'I get paid every two weeks. When that happened I had to go basically a whole month without a paycheck. '

If someone emails you offering a loan, be sure you initiate an online search of the company.  Look for reviews, call the Better Business Bureau. If you are a victim file a police report and file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission.

If you have a consumer issue call us, the CALL FOR ACTION is open Monday through Thursday from 11am until 1pm. The toll free number is 800 782-2222.