Although there are more complex situations, the most basic scam usually involves the “lender” collecting a consumer's details to simulate an analysis of the loan granting process.
Following this, the consumer is informed that the loan has been approved and is then asked to transfer an amount to finalise the process. A false receipt is sent indicating that the transfer of the loan amount has already been made, with the crediting of the amount in the consumer's account waiting the payment of an amount relating to process costs, credit approval fee, payment of stamp duty, etc.
In most cases, the amount involved is around a few hundred euros, and once the payment is made and the scam is completed, the consumer loses the loan and the money paid, and is no longer able to contact the fake financing entity.
How to prevent these situations?
The consumer should adopt a preventive attitude and consult the list of entities allowed to grant credit in Portugal in order to confirm if that entity is proper registered.
Situations that can make us think twice:
- Missing or scarce telephone contacts (for example, only a mobile phone number is given), numbers from abroad;
- Address in foreign territory or a simple post office box;
- Non-institutional e-mail address (Gmail, Hotmail, Yahoo, etc.);
- Pages on the Internet or on social networks with spelling or sentence construction errors that show the use of an online translator;
- Untruthful testimonials by third parties seeking to attest to the reliability of the funding bodies;
- No references about that entity in other websites about that financing entity, or negative references, such as complaints and denunciations;
- Loans approved quickly (in a matter of hours/days) and without bureaucracy (no documentation is required);
- Negative registration on the Bank of Portugal's Central Credit Register is not a reason for not granting credit. However, most, if not all, credit institutions refuse to lend to anyone who is on the "blacklist".
Note: Before contacting the entities, consumers should check whether the entity in question is qualified to carry out this type of financial transaction. To do this, consumers must consult the list of entities registered to grant credit or to work as credit brokers.
Paula Martins is a fully qualified journalist, who finds writing a means of self-expression. She studied Journalism and Communication at University of Coimbra and recently Law in the Algarve. Press card: 8252