Just because something is advertised in a legitimate media doesn't mean it isn't a scam. That's the message West Virginia Attorney General Darrell McGraw is delivering to consumers about ads produced by the “Royalty Resource Network” (RRN), which he calls “a scam operating out of Canada.”

McGraw says ads, appearing in area publications, offer promises of “fast and easy loans.” McGraw says the ads claim
that the company charges no application, processing or consulting fees for loans ranging from $2,500.00 up to $1 million. In reality, consumers are required to send in advance a portion of the funds they intend to borrow, usually through a wire service such as Western Union or Money Gram. Once the funds are picked up, RNN’s fake loan officers disappear with the cash, McGraw says.

Using small newspapers

The Attorney General notes that this type of scam surfaces frequently on the Internet. This time, he says, the criminals are using smaller newspapers and publications. In this particular instance, a large ad was ordered and placed in a West Virginia newspaper using a stolen credit card. Not only were consumers scammed – so was the newspaper.

“Consumers should use extra caution when responding to any sort of advertisement regarding lending and finance,” McGraw said. “Thieves will use newspapers, websites, e-mails, telephone calls – any medium at their disposal – to help you part with your hard-earned money. “No legitimate company or organization will require you to wire money in advance using a wire transfer service in order to qualify for a loan, grant or any other financial aid.” 

Hard to trace

By using free e-mail accounts, disposable cell phones and remotely routed toll-free numbers, scammers are able to open up and close shop in a matter of days. The toll-free number used by RRN, the swindlers who also operated as the Vintage Consumer Network and Forum Family Services, now rings as a fast busy signal. 

McGraw’s Consumer Protection Division has referred complaints received against Royalty Resource Network, Vintage Consumer Network, and Forum Family Services, as well as other across-the-border advance-fee loan scams, to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre, a joint task force of the Ontario Provincial Police, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and the Competition Bureau Canada. 

Consumers in other states should be vigilant against the scam as well.

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