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Joel Ohman is the CEO of a private equity-backed digital media company. He is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™, author, angel investor, and serial entrepreneur who loves creating new things, whether books or businesses. He has also previously served as the founder and resident CFP® of a national insurance agency, Real Time Health Quotes. He also has an MBA from the University of South Florida. ...

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Reviewed by Joel Ohman
Founder, CFP® Joel Ohman

UPDATED: Aug 3, 2021

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A cash advance scam is spreading across the country. The Better Business Bureau of North East California reports that 300 people have complained about several cash advance companies from Las Vegas. These companies are allegedly using duplicate websites that are identical to one another.

Victimized borrowers claimed that they looked into borrowing cash advance loans on these websites, but never actually applied for them. Despite never completing or submitting their applications, these borrowers were still charged $30 from their checking accounts without their authorization.

One woman from Sacramento claims that she viewed the websites in question and was curious about applying for a cash advance, but never completed the application. However, she soon received 75 to 100 financing solicitations. Even though she ignored these offers she found that the website still withdrew $30 from her bank account.

The names of the lenders alleged to be involved in this scam are Capital Advance Capitol, Ideal Advance, LoanTree Advances, Pacific Advances, Palm Loan Advances, Vantage Funding and Your Loan Funding.

What Does Their BBB Business Profile Say?

The Better Business Bureau claims that many of these companies have poor ratings due to their weak or nonexistent responses to complaints. However, these companies do sometimes refund money to complaining customers. Strangely, these companies are also known to sometimes give gas vouchers to complaining customers. None of these are a BBB accredited business, and it seems it’s a matter of policy not to respond to many complaints.

One man in Sacramento is only interested in getting his money back.

“After they offered the voucher, I never got it. I don’t even want a gas voucher,” he told the Better Business Bureau, according to the Sacramento Business Journal.

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How Can You Avoid Falling Victim to These Scams?

The regional president of the Better Business Bureau, Gary Almond, says that borrowers should be cautious when sharing information online.

“If a form asks for personal information like bank account numbers or social security numbers, you may want to do a little more research on who you are dealing with before completing the form. You can never be too cautious when doing business online,” said Almond.

Assume that any information you put into a site is locked in and will be used. The nature of complaints suggest many victims of these companies thought they had not authorized a charge, but they did enter their financial information. If you have any doubts, alert your bank before you get charged.

If you’re interested in getting a cash advance or a more conventional loan, there are plenty of great lenders. You can look for a BBB accredited business, though some prefer to stick to big banks and other names they’re familiar with. No matter who you get your loan with, make sure you always know what the terms are.