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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: William N. Lund, Superintendent
March 31 2010 Bureau of Consumer Credit Protection
State Regulators Issue Consumer Protection Alert:
‘Hoover Alliance Trust’ Not A Real Lender
GARDINER, MAINE – More than a dozen consumers from throughout the country have contacted Maine’s Bureau of Consumer Credit Protection to report that they sent money to a lending company using the name “Hoover Alliance Trust” that falsely claims to be a licensed lender located in the State. The consumers say they haven’t received any of the promised loans.
Although company phone operators tell callers that their offices are located on Sable Oaks Drive in South Portland, Maine, no such business exists at that address, said Will Lund, Superintendent of the Bureau.
“This is a classic advance-fee loan scam, in which consumers are told to wire processing fees, taxes or insurance premiums to Canada or Jamaica” said Lund. “Any time consumers are told that they need to send money in order to receive money, it should raise red flags,” he said.
The scam artists, who are not related to the vacuum company of a similar name, have a website (www.hatrust.net) promising loans if the consumers first pay fees up to $2,000.
Most states, including Maine, license and regulate consumer lenders. Although the Bureau of Consumer Credit Protection was able to convince one caller not to send money, two other people did not become suspicious and contact the Bureau until after they had sent more than $1,000 each.
“It is particularly distressing that these phony companies prey on individuals who are already in default on other debts, so these consumers find themselves in more trouble when they realize that they have sent scarce funds to a non-existent company,” said Lund. He noted that foreign law enforcement agencies often find it difficult to locate and prosecute such criminals, since the scammers hide behind a series of private mailing companies that automatically forward payments to other locations.
Advance fee consumer scams are illegal, both in the United States and Canada. The best advice for consumers is to borrow only from known, licensed or chartered lenders. The Bureau of Consumer Credit Protection maintains a roster of licensed supervised lenders on its website, www.Credit.Maine.gov.
The Bureau of Consumer Credit Protection is part of the Department of Professional and Financial Regulation, which encourages sound and ethical business practices through impartial and efficient regulation of insurers, financial institutions, creditors, investment providers, and numerous professions and occupations for the purpose of protecting the citizens of Maine.