Be careful when applying for loans

Thuli Zungu Consumer Line
Many people end up in debt in the new year due to overspending at Christmas time. As a result they are forced to take out loans, even from unscrupulous lenders, to make ends meet.
Many people end up in debt in the new year due to overspending at Christmas time. As a result they are forced to take out loans, even from unscrupulous lenders, to make ends meet.
Image: ALAN EASON

Most consumers do not question dodgy communication from fraudsters and this is one of the reasons they always get scammed.

Unsuspecting consumer, who are looking for quick loans, are asked to send three months bank statements, their pay slips and identity documents to make this process look real.

They are later asked to pay administration fees, transfer fees, blacklist clearance fees and additional fees with promises of finalising the loans.

About two consumers have been fleeced about R17,000 in loan scams after receiving text messages congratulating them of qualifying for loans they never applied for.

Calvin Ramufhufhi claimed that he was defrauded out of R14,376 between October 30 and November 11 under the pretext that he would be granted a loan of R220 000.

Ramufhufhi, 47, of Tembisa said he responded to a text message he received from Citrus Loans in October.

They were offering loans up to R2m even if the applicants are blacklisted, Ramufhufhi said.

He then called a sales agent, who introduced herself as Palesa Lavisa, for clarity as he had a bad credit record.

Ramufhufhi was asked to send his payslip, three months bank certificates and the loan amount he was applying for.

Within hours after sending these details, he was told his application was successful and had to deposit an admin fee of R3550 and a refundable fee of R5 965.

He also received a letter from their attorney James Smith confirming his loan application and the work they have done for him to qualify for the loan.

"For that I was required to pay a further R28,020 for a loan certificate which I paid."

By that time, he had paid R14,335 and issued with a certificate and no loan was advanced to him, he said.

"I am saddened by this because I had to take loans from friend to try and secure this loan," Ramufhufhi.

Madimetja Ledwaba says he's also victim of a similar scam, claiming that he was scammed by Solution Loans.

He said he too received a text message after which he was required to pay an admininstration fee of R1,500 into an account of TM Tutja for a loan of R 5,000, which he did.

"Thereafter they asked me to buy airtime worth R360 and I did, but instead of processing my loan they demanded more money before they could approve the application."

Consumer Line could not get comment from Sicelo Tshabalala of Citrus Loans, but his sales consultant Lavisa admitted that their company scammed people.

"We are fraudsters and no one will catch us. You don't even know where our offices are, so go on with your investigation. Sebenza girl," she boasted before hanging up.

A further telephone call to the company's landline proved that they were fraudsters. Sihle Mbatha, who answered the phone, also bragged that they were sophisticated scammers who have evaded police. Mbatha further told Consumer Line to go to hell.

At Solution Loans, a man who only identified himself as Eric, confirmed that they were granting loans but denied that they have scammed Ledwaba.

Ramufhufhi and Ledwaba have since laid criminal cases against the two people they sent their money to.

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