A man who was scammed out of hundreds of pounds by a loan company is warning others of the dangers of scam loans.
Ralph McAlpine from Lincoln applied for a loan to cover the costs of repairs on his car.
The 57-year-old said that when he approached the company for a loan, they advised him that his credit rating was poor due to him not being on the electoral register.
The company asked Ralph to pay a fee of £200 to secure the loan, a fee they requested that he pay in Amazon vouchers.
Ralph said he had no reason to believe they were taking advantage of him, as he accepted that he had a poor credit rating and that the company would need something to secure the loan.
He said: “I did question why I had to hand over the money, but they kept insisting that because I wasn’t on the electoral register and I had a bad credit rating that I needed to secure the loan in case I defaulted.
“They told me that once I had sent a picture of the vouchers, they would be able to release the money.”
Ralph said he waited several days for the money to be released into his account, but it never came. A few days later, the company got back in touch saying that they would need another £50 in order to send Ralph the money.
Ralph, who works as a hospital porter, said that they came back asking for more money, until Ralph had handed over nearly £524 in vouchers and cash.
Each time he got in contact with the company, they told him that they would release the money, but they never did.
Ralph said: “I emailed them, and every time got a response from someone called David Stewart, then when I called it was always someone with an Indian accent who answered and told me that Mr Stewart isn’t available.”
The incident has now been reported to Action Fraud UK.
“When I called them and told them I had reported them, they started denying that they knew who I was. I sent a text to one of the numbers they had been contacting me on and they replied with ‘who this?'”, said Ralph.
Ralph said he has now been left with £5 in his bank account ahead of Christmas.
“In hindsight I should have spotted that it wasn’t trustworthy, but I needed the money to fix my car and I trusted them when they told me my credit rating was poor.
“I’m now having to walk six miles every day to work and back. It has left me feeling frustrated and anxious.
“I think people should be aware not to give their money out if they are in doubt.”
Tom Keating from Action Fraud UK, said that no genuine lender would ask you to pay taxes, bills or fees using Amazon vouchers, or any type of gift card.
He said: “If you are contacted by anyone that asks you to do this, you’re very likely the target of a scam.
“Always question unsolicited requests for your personal or financial information in case it’s a scam. Even if someone knows your basic details (such as your name and address), it doesn’t mean they are genuine.
“Genuine banks or other trusted organisations won’t pressure you to make a financial transaction on the spot. If something feels wrong then it’s usually right to question it.
“If you think you have been a victim of fraud, report it to Action Fraud online or by calling 0300 123 2040.”