Anchor Finance, Credit ReStore and BBM FInance
This loan scam involves people receiving phone calls or emails out of the blue from fraudsters claiming to be from finance companies.
So far the companies have been:
- Anchor Finance
- Credit ReStore
- BBM Finance.
They ask for an insurance fee upfront as part of the ‘application process’ but the money never turns up and communication ceases.
In June 2018 WA ScamNet received another two reports about the Anchor Finance fake loan scam being back in action with one victim reporting a loss of $4,000. The scammers are using the logo from the legitimate company of Anchor Finance Pty Ltd on their fake loan agreement for “Anchor Finance” and on the signature in the emails. The email address used was Anchor.firstname.lastname@example.org, although it would appear that this email is no longer in operation, the phone number was 08 6102 8905. These contact details do not belong to the legitimate business.
In 2018, WA ScamNet received a reported loss of $2010 to a personal loan scam where consumers are asked to provide an upfront payment to secure a loan from a company calling itself Anchor Finance.
This loan scam involves people receiving phone calls offering a loan and then emails from the fraudsters who ask for an insurance fee upfront as part of the ‘application process’, but the loan money never turns up and communication ceases.
Our investigators contacted the legitimate company called Anchor Finance and a representative has confirmed that the company has nothing to do with these loans, but that it is aware that scammers are using its ABN and credit license fraudulently after receiving calls from 10 consumers who had made payments for the non-existent loans totalling around $10,000. The company advised it has contacted the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC).
The scammers are using the email address email@example.com, and the company name Anchor Finance Pty Ltd plus the ABN belonging to Anchor Finance.
In 2017, WA ScamNet had reports from six victims losing $6,300 in 2017 of the Credit Restore and BBM Finance scams.
Our investigations found Credit ReStore credit repair service in South Australia had not been trading for about six years and had never offered personal loans. BBM Finance in Victoria had never officially traded but had been set up as a venture which had not come to fruition.
If you’re looking for or applying for loans online or using comparison sites, you need to do some research into the lender before sharing your personal information. Ensure the site is secure showing a padlock (and prefix https://). Also make sure your anti-virus and spyware prevention software is up-to-date and working, otherwise scammers could hack into your computer or device and monitor your online activity and emails. Be careful not to click random links or pop-up ads.
There are many things to consider when applying for a loan, including:
- Check the lender is licensed by looking on the Australian Securities and Investments Commissioner (ASIC) website BUT remember that scammers also have access to this information and can copy the details of a registered credit provider in order to pretend to be them.
- Verify that any phone number or email address you are using to communicate with a lender truly belongs to the registered company you think you are dealing with. Just because a phone number begins with an Australian prefix does not mean the person you are talking to is based in this country – they could be re-routing the number using technology known as VoIP. Search the White Pages and call the phone number they list, ask if the email you recieved is real or a scam.
- Be very suspicious about requests to pay fees upfront that involve wire transferring the money or putting it into bank accounts.
- When sending emails type the address into your ‘To’ box rather than hitting reply to prevent conversations with hackers.
- Know that clicking on links in emails or clicking on online advertisements may take you to fake websites.
If you are unsure - call the WA ScamNet team at Consumer Protection (1300 30 40 54) or ASIC (1300 300 630) before going ahead.
There is also good advice on ASIC’s MoneySmart website