CHARLESTON – West Virginia Attorney General Darrell McGraw is warning consumers to stay clear of a scam operating out of Canada that promises "fast and easy loans."
New advertisements produced by the Royalty Resource Network are appearing in area publications and are offering promises of fast and easy loans.
RRRN's advertisements claim that the company charges no application, processing or consulting fees for loans ranging from $2,500 to $1 million.
In reality, consumers are required to send in advance a portion of the funds they intend to borrow, usually through a wire service such as Western Union or Money Gram. Once the funds are picked up, RRN's fake loan officers disappear with the cash.
McGraw said that this type of scam surfaces frequently on the Internet. But, this time the criminals are using smaller newspapers and publications. One large advertisement was ordered and placed in The Ad Bulletin.
In addition to scamming consumers, RRN also scammed The Ad Bulletin, using a stolen credit card number for payment of the advertisement.
"Consumers should use extra caution when responding to any sort of advertisement regarding lending and finance," McGraw said. "Thieves will use newspapers, websites, e-mails, telephone calls -- any medium at their disposal -- to help you part with your hard-earned money."
McGraw said no legitimate company or organization will require you to wire money in advance using a wire transfer service in order to qualify for a loan, grant or any other type of financial aid.
By using free e-mail accounts, disposable cell phones and remotely routed toll-free numbers, scammers are able to open up and close shop in a matter of days; the toll-free numbers RRN used now ring as a fast busy signal.
RRN also operated as the Vintage Consumer Network and Forum Family Services.
McGraw's Consumer Protection Division has referred complaints received against RRN, Vintage Consumer Network and Forum Family Services, as well as other across-the-border advance-fee loan scams, to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Center, a joint task force of the Ontario Provincial Police, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and the Competition Bureau Canada.
To report a scam or file a complaint, go to www.wvago.gov or call the Consumer Protection Hotline at 1-800-368-8808.