GARDAI have warned that scammers are targeting “vulnerable and desperate” people who have been refused money from established lenders.

A number of websites are offering unsecured loans to people in a scheme known as Advance Fee Fraud, the victim finds a website that offers loans that will be processed quickly and without security.

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Detective Superintendent Michael CryanCredit: Collect

The loan applicant will submit an online application and within minutes they are contacted by the company to say they have been approved.

They will be told the amount of the loan, which often is more than what was originally sought, and the monthly repayment.

The victim is then asked to send a small amount of money to the lender in advance of the loan being issued.

The reasons given for this payment include a set-up fee, payment for Personal Protection Insurance on the loan amount or the first instalment of the loan in order to demonstrate the ability to meet the repayments.

After the payment is transferred, the loan is never issued and the advance fee is lost.

REPORT IF CONTACTED

Detective Sergeant Michael Cryan urged people if they get contacted by any of these websites to ignore and report them.

He told the Irish Sun: “The one thing that all the victims have is that they’re desperate, especially coming up to Christmas.

“If you look at the ages of many of the victims, they are often aged in their 30s to 40s so chances are they have small children and are down to their last few…

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