For Immediate Release - April 19, 2007

Consumer Affairs Issues Consumer Alert on Advance-Fee Loan Scam And Pay Day Loans

Consumer Affairs Issues Consumer Alert on Advance-Fee Loan Scam And Pay Day Loans

BOSTON - The Office of Consumer Affairs and the Division of Banks today issued a consumer alert warning consumers about a potential advance-fee loan scam and an illegal pay day loan operation recently advertised in the Boston Metro.

ADVANCE-FEE LOAN SCAM

Advance-fee loan scams generally involve the promise of easy credit regardless of credit history. Upon completion of a loan application, the entity requires a consumer to wire a percentage of the loan amount, various fees, or payment of insurance in order to secure the loan. Upon collection of the fee, the loan is never delivered.

Amcorp Capital is operating a website at www.amcorpcapital.com. The only contact information provided on the web site is a toll free telephone number and an email address. The web site also lists a business address of One Boston Place, Boston, Massachusetts.

Amcorp Capital claims to offer mortgage loans, education loans, personal loans, and automobile loans. This entity is not licensed by the Division of Banks and calls to the company have not been returned. An investigation by the Division of Banks has determined that no such business is located at the One Boston Place address. Moreover, the Amcorp Capital's web site was apparently created on April 11, 2007.

Similar to other advance-fee loan scams, the website promotes the availability of easy credit regardless of credit history. Based upon discussions with consumers, Amcorp apparently requires, upon completion of a loan application, that a percentage of the loan be paid up front directly via wire transfer.

The Office of Consumer Affairs and Division of Banks strongly urges consumers not to do business with this entity. "This has all the earmarks of an advance-fee loan scam," noted Director of Consumer Affairs Daniel C. Crane. "Consumers should know that no legitimate lender would require an upfront payment to secure a loan. Consumers should also be extremely cautious when dealing with companies that you do not know. All efforts should be made to safeguard your personal information such as bank account, credit card, or social security numbers.

For more information on advance loan scams please see information from the Federal Trade Commission available at http://www.ftc.gov/bcp.

ILLEGAL PAY DAY LENDER

Director Crane also announced that Commissioner of Banks Steven L. Antonakes had sent a letter to the Boston Metro requesting that the publication cease accepting print advertisements from pay day lenders. Commissioner Antonakes sent a similar letter to the Boston Metro in February 2005 and the newspaper, until recently, had not run advertisements for pay day lenders.

"Pay day loans carry exorbitant interest rates and can quickly lead consumers into escalating debt," said Director Crane. "There is also a high risk of identity theft as this company's advertisement provides virtually no identifying information."

Commissioner Antonakes added, "There are no payday lenders licensed or based in Massachusetts. Under the state's small loan law, annual interest rates on these loans are capped at 23% and fees are limited to $20. Pay day lenders typically charge annual percentage rates averaging 300 percent and fees averaging $30."

Pay day loans are short term, small sum, high rate, unsecured personal loans that use consumer checking accounts (either post-dated checks or electronic access) to secure repayment of the amount borrowed. Repayment of the full amount and lender fees are typically due within 14 days or with the borrower's next paycheck. Partial payments are rarely allowed so if a borrower can't repay the full amount within the required timeframe, the loan is usually rolled over for additional periods of time and additional fees.

If you believe you have been a victim of this advance-fee loan scam or pay day loan operation, call the Division of Banks' Consumer Assistance Unit at 1-800-495-BANK (2265).