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MAINE BUREAU OF CONSUMER CREDIT PROTECTION
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State Regulators Issue Consumer Alert: “Fairfield Brokerage” and “Oracle Lending Group” Are Fake Lenders and Not Located in Portland’s Time and Temperature Building
April 6, 2011
State regulators issued an alert Wednesday to consumers nationwide to advise of a fraudulent advance fee loan scam operated by two Florida companies named Fairfield Brokerage and Oracle Lending Group, LLC. Both unlicensed companies purport to be located in the Time and Temperature Building at 477 Congress Street in Portland, Maine. Neither company is housed in that Portland landmark.
Several out of state consumers have called Maine’s Bureau of Consumer Credit Protection with questions about professional-looking websites posted by the two companies that purport to offer short-term consumer loans. In each instance the consumers were asked to transfer advance fees to a Florida money transmitter location in order to secure the promised loans. The consumers became suspicious and contacted the Bureau to learn that neither company is a licensed lender, and that advance fee consumer loans are illegal under federal law.
“Advance fee loan scams are a growing financial menace ,” said David Leach, Principal Examiner with the Bureau. “Whether it’s an attractive website, a direct mail offer or convincing telemarketing call, offers to make loans to consumers in exchange for upfront fees are sure ways for consumers to lose significant amounts of their hard-earned money.”
Leach explained that all states license lenders, and warned consumers that if they receive an offer for a loan from an unknown source, they should never commit funds without first checking with authorities to determine whether it’s licensed and whether other consumers have filed complaints.
“In these challenging economic times, many consumers are desperate for a loan, have been turned down by traditional lenders, and turn to the Internet to secure cash,” said Leach. “Investigators in my office have heard stories of consumers borrowing money from relatives to pay the upfront fees, only to find out after wiring the funds that criminals have absconded with the money and the loan offers were merely scams.”
The Maine Bureau of Consumer Credit Protection was established in 1975 to enforce a variety of credit-related consumer laws. The Office licenses lenders, creditors and collectors; conducts periodic examinations of creditors to determine compliance with state laws; and responds to consumer complaints and inquiries. The Office also conducts educational seminars and provides speakers to advise consumers and creditors of their legal rights and responsibilities.
Last Updated: April 6, 2011 4:15 PM
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