The Federal Trade Commission has created a website for a fake lending company that warns people about how easy it is to be tricked by scammers charging upfront fees for bogus loans.
The website is part of a consumer education campaign to help consumers manage their money and learn how to spot scams.
The fictitious website Esteemed Lending Services offers consumers a loan for every situation guaranteed. The site claims qualified loan specialists will help you find a loan for any purpose, or consolidate your high-interest debt - regardless of your credit history.
When consumers click to learn more or apply for a loan, they will discover that Esteemed Lending is not a real company. The website provides information to warn consumers about scammers pretending to be lenders.
These scammers start by promising loans, only later revealing a fee that consumers have to pay first. If they pay, it's unlikely they will see the promised loan, and they run the risk that their personal information will end up in the hands of identity thieves. The site also gives consumers tips to help spot an advance fee scam, and includes links to more information from the FTC.