Police warn of local loan scam

Local authorities are warning the public to not provide personal banking information over the phone or through text messages following a recent loan scam investigation.
A recent scam occurred involving a young resident of South Hill being tricked into providing banking information via text message and phone calls to someone claiming to boost his/her credit.
South Hill Police Department’s Detective R. Durham explained that the victim was first reached out to by the scammer through a text message offering a loan agreement that was followed by a message informing the victim of having bad credit, but offering a solution to boost their credit for them.
The scammer, after receiving the victim’s personal information uploaded a bad check via mobile banking to the victims bank account asking in return that the victim send a portion of the money back to boost their credit.
The victim was asked to purchase a Google Play Card and supply the card number back to scammer to return a portion of the money that was loaned to her.
Since the scammer’s check that was deposited into the victim’s account was bogus, the victim was supplying the scammer with his/her money directly from his/her bank account.
To prevent future scams from occurring, the South Hill Police Department urges everyone to not provide any personal or banking information over the phone or via text message.
Branch Manager of Benchmark Community Bank, Tammy Robinson-White said from a banking perspective, that customers need be wary when asked to provide information over the phone because she said, “we are not going to call a customer and ask for that information. ”
Robinson-White advises young men and women looking to start building credit to go through a banking institution and do so through a secure loan or secure credit card.
For customers of Benchmark, Robinson-White said she advises her young bankers to start building credit by opening a CD or savings account with $1,000 then get a small loan through the bank that they can pay off each month to help them establish a trade line.
The second option Robinson-White said she would suggest is to get a Benchmark secure credit card and pay it off each month so that the bank can help you monitor your payments.
Be cautious when dealing with sharing of personal information and the South Hill Police Department warns that, “if something is too good to be true, then it is a scam.”