Fraudsters have sunk to new depths with their latest scam, according to West Yorkshire consumer watchdogs.
They are behind a scam targeting those already struggling to pay crippling debts.
West Yorkshire Trading Standards has warned of a big rise in bogus lenders offering to provide loans without any credit checks or assessments of affordability.
Various trading names are used and are often clones of legitimate, authorised lenders.
Payment is demanded upfront to arrange a loan, usually around £100 - £200 depending on the amount of the loan.
Kirklees councillor Andrew Pinnock, of the West Yorkshire Trading Standards Committee, said: “Never send money off or give your debit/credit card details to persons you don’t know, or persons you haven’t checked out first.
“Be wary of requests to wire money to another country or use overseas payment methods.”
The fraudsters’ demand for payment is made in the form of electronic money or international money transfers like Ukash or Western Union, knowing that these methods cannot be traced or reversed.
Some would-be borrowers have even been asked to meet at a specified location to hand over cash to persons they don’t know.
Occasionally payment is made by direct bank transfer. Fake documentation has even been issued purporting to be authorised by the regulator the Financial Conduct Authority to which the first loan instalment will be made.
If you are in difficulty with debt contact the National Debtline on 0808 808 4000 or go on-line at www.nationaldebtline.co.uk
Consumers can report these scams by contacting the Citizens Advice Consumer Helpline on 08454 04 05 06 or on-line at www.citizensadvice.org.uk.