TORONTO — A Toronto pensioner who tried to get a loan to pay for medication for his wife battling cancer has been scammed out of $1,800.
“It all started with an email telling me I had been approved for a loan,” Herbert Kismatal, who also wanted the loan to consolodate debts, told CTV News Toronto.
Kismatali said the email told him he was preapproved for a loan of $8,000, but that he had to make three advance loan payments before he would receive the funds.
First he paid the company $540 through his bank. Then he was asked to pay another $US720 in taxes before he could receive the money. After he did that he was asked to pay another $540 for loan insurance.
He transferred the funds through his bank and a Bitcoin machine.
After Kismatali was asked to pay more money he realized that he had been scammed out of $1,800.
“When they asked me for $800 more I realized I had been scammed,” Kismatali said. “I shouldn’t have paid the money, but once I started I felt like I was in too deep to stop.”
Credit Canada Debt Solutions, which helps people with credit counselling and budgeting, says loan scams work in various ways, but almost all require you to pay money up front.
“You give money and at the end of the day you get nothing in return as there is no actual loan,” Keith Emery with Credit Canada Debt Solutions said.
Some loan scam warning signs to watch out for are that you get an unsolicited loan approval and no credit check is needed. There is usually an urgency or aggressiveness to the situation and upfront payments are required.
There is a concern as the pandemic drags on that scammers will target more vulnerable Canadians who will fall for the scam.
“They might be suffering from cash flow problems and be more exacerbated as CERB ends so there is going to be even more pressure for people to find money” Emery said.
Kismatali said he is angry and depressed he got caught up in the fraud but felt a duty to warn others about it.
“If I can help one person from being scammed than I have done my job,” Kismatali said.
Experts say people should avoid offers that come out of the blue in your email and be suspicious of companies you haven’t heard of or dealt with.
A quick google search will let you know if others have had problems with the same company.