March  2005      Vol. 14, No. 3  REAP HOME PAGE  A publication of the Center for Rural Affairs    
  << NEWSLETTER MENU  3/05      

Beware of Scams
A follow-up to a Scam Alert memo sent to all REAP borrowers in February

Last month a REAP member received a phone call from “the American Small Business Group” saying that, since this person had a REAP loan and made payments on time the individual was eligible for more money. All the person had to do was give their bank routing number and account number.

The REAP member did not give the bank routing number and account number, which was the right thing to do. This instance and anything like it is a scam.

Limit phone information
YOU SHOULD NEVER UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES give personal information of this type to anyone over the phone because it is normally some type of scam operation.

In this case, the supposed group made multiple calls and became more insistent. The REAP member asked them to mail information, but the group would only offer to fax. This is another red flag – by mailing, the group in question would also face mail fraud charges.

It is critical to never give your credit card number, bank account information, or Social Security Number over the telephone or Internet unless you are familiar with the company and know why the information is needed.

Also, ignore any ad or hang up on any caller that guarantees a loan in exchange for an advance fee. It’s illegal for companies doing business by phone to promise you a loan and ask you to pay for it before they deliver.

Check with the Better Business Bureau
Any business can be researched at the Better Business Bureau website, http://www.BBB.org  Click on “Business” and enter the business name in question, the phone number, or the web address. If any negative reports have been filed on the business to the Better Business Bureau, they will be displayed.

Even if no negative reports have been filed, you always want to be absolutely certain about who you are dealing with and completely certain the business is truly legitimate. Further information about scams and fraud can be found at the Federal Trade Commission website, www.federaltradecommission.com 

The solicited REAP member is turning the information into the Nebraska Attorney General and the Federal Trade Commission. Please inform REAP staff immediately if you receive a call like this. If you have caller ID and can get the phone number, this may help in tracking down the person(s) responsible. Please feel free to call any REAP staff if you have questions or comments.


Contact: Jeff Reynolds, REAP Program Director at jeffr@alltel.net or 402.656.3091
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