by Broderick Perkins
(05/31/2010) The Federal Trade Commission's new loan website Esteemed Lending Services offers "A Loan for every situation. Guaranteed."
However, pay attention now, unlike other websites offering similar come-ons, it's a fake.
The website is a convincing example of how the Obama Administration gets it when it comes to what consumers face in the financial world -- too much bull.
The FTC created the faux website for a fictitious lending company to warn consumers how easy it is to be fooled by scammers, especially online scams, charging up-front fees for bogus loans, including mortgages.
The site also explains how to spot and avoid loan scams.
The website is part of the FTC's stepped up consumer education campaign to help consumers manage their money and learn to recognize rip offs.
At Esteemed Lending Services consumers enter the fictitious world of "a guaranteed loan for every situation – regardless of your credit history," only to find a world where:
• Lenders aren't interested in your credit history and claim bad credit isn't a problem. (Honest ones are and bad credit can be a problem.)
• Fees aren't' disclosed clearly or prominently. (Honest firms disclose fees. Regulations mandate it.)
• Loans by phone are legal. (They aren't.)
• Lenders use copy-cat names that sound like well-known or respected organizations to convince you they're legitimate. (While using variant names isn't necessarily illegal, it is a scamming tactic.)
• Lenders are not registered in your state. (While state registration is not a guarantee the best loan, it does help weed out the come-ons by giving you a government agency to seek redress.)
• Lenders ask you to wire money or pay a particular person. (Don't!)
The FTC explains its ruse with links to "testimonials," "FAQs," "loan programs," "contact us," all of which point to warnings about scammers masquerading as lenders.
While Esteemed Lending Services isn't particularly loaded with a lot of new information, it is a website that reveals how easy it is to scam consumers. It's also a handy website to use as a reminder of what's out there to take you to the cleaners.
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