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Looking for a loan online? Don't get caught in the advance-fee loan


An Ontario man who wanted a loan to help get his finances back in order is out $9,100 after falling victim to an advance-fee loan scam.

"This has been one of the most stressful times of my life" said Zach Byrne of Cambridge.

Byrne was looking for a loan to pay off his car and save for an apartment. When he went online, he found a company called Liveron Financial Services that said it guaranteed loans even for individuals with bad credit.

Byrne applied and said “I was told I was approved for $50,000, but as part of the contract I had to put down $5,000 as collateral.”

After paying the $5,000 he was told he needed to pay additional charges for currency conversion, insurance and processing fees, but in the end he never got the loan.

“I’ve done everything they asked me to do already, and they were still asking me for money. It doesn’t make a whole lot of sense” said Bryne.

CTV News Toronto contacted Liveron, but our several e-mails and phone calls were not returned. The phone number given to Byrne is no longer in service and he is now concerned he has been scammed out of $9,100.

"I’ve heard nothing back. I kept asking where the money was and they just ghosted me I never did hear anything back" said Bryne.

Angela Dennis, President of the Central Ontario Better Business Bureau said you should never have to pay in advance to secure a loan.

"With interest rates as high as they are people that can't access typical lenders, so they are desperate and scammers prey on that” said Dennis.

According to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre (CAFC), Canadians have lost $3,494,925 last year to the advance fee loan scam, an increase from $1,898,181 in 2022.

To avoid the advance-fee loan scam, the CAFC advises consumers to be aware if a loan is guaranteed and a credit-check is not necessary. If you're asked to pay fees or a deposit in advance, such as insurance or processing charges, and if the company doesn’t exist at physical address, it may be a scam.

CAFC said that fraudulent loan companies may also pop up first in a Google search.

"They are using search engine optimization (SEO) which means if the victim goes on a search there is a good chance the first five websites to pop up could be fraudulent websites." said Jeff Horncastle, Acting Client and Communications Outreach Officer with the CAFC.

Byrne said he had been hopeful to get the loan to get back on his financial feet and feels he is now in a much worse off position.

If you are looking for a loan and applying online, beware as you are also giving out a lot of your personal information as even if you don’t get caught paying in advance, you could make yourself a victim to identity theft. Top Stories

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