Scam or not? It’s getting harder to tell, so watch out!
BY Sarah email@example.com It is getting harder and harder to know if you've received a scam letter, email or communication. They are that good, that sophisticated, that mind-boggling. When Rose and Mike Loeffler recently got a...
BY Sarah smith
It is getting harder and harder to know if you’ve received a scam letter, email or communication.
They are that good, that sophisticated, that mind-boggling.
When Rose and Mike Loeffler recently got a check for $68,000 and change, they flipped.
Then they got suspicious. The offer was funding for business owners, and Capital Alliance Group was just sure the Loefflers could use the funds.
Rose immediately got online.
“It’s a scam,” she said when she brought the letter to the Enterprise.
Dan Henrickson, Communications Coordinator for the Better Business Bureau of Minnesota and North Dakota, didn’t like the smell of the letter, from 200 miles away.
“The check amount is eyebrow-raising,” he acknowledged. “I really hate the sound of this.”
In researching the BBB’s files, Hendrickson said it revealed 35 complaints against the company, but he said “the company is responding to them - slowly.”
Loefflers have no intention of cashing the check, and Hendrickson urges caution if they try.
“Tell them to seek legal advice first,” he urged.
According to the BBB, Capital Alliance Group is not BBB accredited. Although it is not incumbent upon a business to seek the blessing of the BBB, it raises a red flag if they don’t.
The BBB accreditation process includes businesses‘ good faith effort to resolve computer complaints.
BBB Accredited businesses pay a fee for accreditation review and monitoring and for support of BBB services to the public.
The length of time a business has been in operation factors in accreditation.
Factors that weighed against Capital Alliance, a Santa Ana, Calif., business, were the number of complaints and its advertising and robo-calls that boasted an A+ rating.
“This constitutes false and deceptive advertising,” the BBB found. The company incorporated in 2008; the BBB opened its first file on Capital Alliance in 2013. Its BBB rating is actually a C-.
An Enterprise call to the company Monday was not returned.
A website called the Ripoff Report unleashed the floodgates on the company.
But interestingly, some former employees wrote in to counter negative perceptions of the company, saying it was a good place to work.
What irate customers indicated was that they were asked to pay a $295 non-refundable loan processing fee. Other fees followed later.
Here is one person’s experience:
“Greg Baker from Capital Alliance contacted my business on 7/18/2013 - he offered to find us $50,000 loan and that we were ‘pre-approved.’ I initially ignored him but he was very eager and called about 2 times per day,” said the customer.
“He sounded legit - he would offer us not $50,000 - but $27,000 towards the purchase of some new equipment for our facility opening in Chicago. All we needed to do was pay a $295 processing fee and then they would draft via ACH withdrawal $251 per day from our account every business day for 6 months. This is a pretty high interest loan - but our lines of credit are quite full at the moment and our cash flow is good enough to afford the interest, the customer stated.
“Well, Greg Baker and Capital Alliance is total scam,” the customer posted. “They have no loans and no ‘preferred lenders.’ Upon getting our application and details - they charged the ‘application fee.‘ Then (and ONLY THEN) did they call us back seeking conditions we could not meet to go ahead with the loan.
“It’s a total scam - the only thing they want is the application fee of $295. You give them your bank info as part of the app - and kiss it goodbye...
“Watch out for these guys and RUN if they call you!” the customer advised.
Ripoff Report indicated if the customer was not going to be able to make the loan, the time to let him know was “before the collection of the due diligence fee of $295.”
Another customer said he received roughly half of the money he’d requested but had to first pay the $295.
It turned out Capital Alliance has a myriad of companies associated with it.
“After I signed my contracts with Yellowstone (which included about $1400 in fees!) I received a welcome call from the underwriter at Yellowstone. On the welcome call the underwriter had the audacity to request an additional 10% fee!!,” said another customer.
“I was already paying back $4500 for a measely $10,000. Now Yellowstone wanted another $1000!! So for $10,000 I am paying $4500 in interest and $2400 in fees. So really I am getting only $7600. He explained that this was the service fee for the broker at Yellowstone. Wait, wasn’t Joe my broker that I just paid $295 to? I cancelled the deal with Yellowstone on the spot. I know my credit is weak but that doesn’t mean you can take advantage of someone like me. These people prey on the needy,” the customer concluded.
“I paid a small price to learn a big lesson!”
Hendrickson said his office would continue to monitor the company and report back to the Enterprise his findings.