Sara Routhier, Managing Editor and Outreach Director, has professional experience as an educator, SEO specialist, and content marketer. She has over five years of experience in the insurance industry. As a researcher, data nerd, writer, and editor she strives to curate educational, enlightening articles that provide you with the must-know facts and best-kept secrets within the overwhelming world o...

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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®

UPDATED: Jul 24, 2012

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April Garcia from Muscatine Iowa was almost scammed out of hundreds of dollars on July 14 by a group offering cash advance loans. She got a phone call that morning informing her that she was eligible for a $3,300 consumer cash advance loan. Despite recognizing that she didn’t remember filling out an application for cash advance loans, Garcia did recall filling out loan applications in the past. She proceeded with the scammers’ process.

“They said I’d have to pay them $330 for insurance but I would get that refunded,” Garcia said in an interview for the Muscatine Journal.

The scammers informed her that once everything had cleared she would begin receiving payments of $330 over the next ten months. This would ultimately total $3,300 since, according to the scammers, she would have been refunded the initial $330 that she paid for “insurance”.

“I went to Western Union and paid but the receipt said the money was received in India,” Garcia said. “That’s when I knew something was wrong.”

Unfortunately for Garcia, she failed to recognize that Western Union is often used by scammers due to the ease of withdrawing funds.

Garcia felt suspicious once she was told by the scammers not to show the Western Union receipt to another party. Garcia informed the Muscatine County Sheriff’s Office immediately.

“I asked them to look at my paperwork,” Garcia said.

Since Garcia never told the scammers the money was wired, she had time to contact Western Union and explain what the payday loans scammers had done.

“I thank God they didn’t pick up the money before I was able to call Western Union and get a refund for fraud,” said Garcia.

Even though Garcia is relieved that this particular group of cash advance loans scammers eventually stopped calling her, a completely different group continues to plague her.

“From a different number, I get calls saying I qualify for federal grants,” Garcia said noting that one call even came from her own cell phone number.

“Sgt. Ardyth Orr said these people have devices that can manipulate the numbers they call from,” said Garcia. “When I saw my own number I thought, ‘What the heck?’”

By manipulating their caller ID information scammers outside of the U.S. can avoid their foreign phone number from appearing to the victim and triggering suspicion.

Orr stated that scammers typically target victims with bad credit who may be desperate to borrow cash advance loans.

“Orr told me to be smart with my money and to not fall for the scams again,” Garcia said.

Despite narrowly avoiding being scammed with the bait of cash advance loans and being able to save her money from the scammers, Garcia is wiser for the experience.

“I’m glad I got everything back but I want people to know they should report these no matter what,” said Garcia.