A malicious scam has been surging lately, as reported by TNS’ Robocall Protection team, targeting individuals who carry debt and are looking for a lifeline. Callers claiming to be from a ‘financial hardship loan center’ are attempting to steal victim’s information or worse, digging them deeper into debt. 

We have collated the following transcripts from real messages left by scammers, so subscribers know what to lookout for. They use language to make the offer sound urgent, such as ‘final’ and ‘24 hours’, which is a tactic often deployed by bad actors. Sadly, someone who is under high stress from debt may fall victim to these pressures.  

Some scammers target business owners like in the below transcript: 

“Hi, this is Joey with USA Capital and I’m just now returning your call because I’ve got some great news based on public information about your business. You’re eligible for financing ranging from $10,000 all the way to $500,000. The rates are very competitive and they’re quite affordable and one of the best parts of this offer is the speed of which we could provide the resources if you accepted. We have everything ready for you just within 24 hours, please remember offers like this are not always available so it’s best to respond quickly.” 

While others target individuals with debt: 

“Hello, please listen to this important message. This is a message from the National Financial Hardship Loan Center. This is a final attempt to reach you regarding a $36,000 financial hardship loan that can be funded today. Due to inflation and rising costs, we offer same-day approval with no credit check. This loan can be used for any purpose including paying off debt, unexpected bills, or personal use. Please call our national office today.” 

The fraudster offers quick access to large amounts of cash that could be life-changing for many people and seen as an offer they can’t resist. Some of the scammers may provide real cash loans but at exorbitant interest rates, which digs the victim just deeper into debt. Most of the time the scammer is looking for personal information such as social security and driver license information for identity theft. The transcripts involve fraudulent activity in the US, but this type of scam has been replicated around the world.  

How To Avoid Financial Hardship Loan Scams 

Luckily there are many red flags to look out for, one being the call itself, since legitimate programs do not send out robocalls. While there are legitimate financial hardship services from the US government, they would not be cold calling. A person seeking financial support would have to reach out or apply directly to these programs. The sense of urgency, no background check required and pressurized deadlines are all warning signs of a scam.  

It is best practice to never engage with unknown numbers and report phone numbers being used by scammers to your carrier. If you believe you are the victim of a scam, you can report it to your local police, state Attorney General’s office and the FTC. 

Call-blocking apps, including those powered by TNS Call Guardian®, are also a great resource for reporting and blocking unwanted robocalls. Stay vigilant, share information about scams with others and be sure to check out our monthly Scam of the Month page updates. 

John Haraburda is Product Lead for TNS Call Guardian® with specific responsibility for TNS’ Communications Market solutions. 

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