3OYS: Beware of auto loan scam

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By Tami Hoey By Tami Hoey

MESA, Ariz. -- An east Valley woman says she almost lost a lot of money to a scam and she's hoping other people won't fall for it.

The internet is a great resource but the problem is it's also the perfect place for bad people with bad intentions to operate.

In this case, a valley woman was almost taken for $295.

"I work a lot and between that and going to see my family, I need a car," says Mia Hill. “I know what it's like to take the bus in the summer and wait outside, it's just terrible."

Mia was without a car for a year and decided it was finally time to buy one. So she turned to the internet to look for a loan.  "Maybe if I get a loan I can get a newer car," she thought.

After visiting different websites and filling out some information, Mia received a phone call from one of those online loan companies.

"They told me that I was approved for $3,000, and it would be monthly payments of $150," she says.

Mia says it sounded perfect. All she had to do to secure the loan was go to the nearest MoneyGram location like a Walmart and they would wire her the money.

There was only one catch."They wanted a $295 security deposit and they said that within minutes they would give me $3,295," she recalls.

But Mia grew suspicious, particularly since the so-called loan officer seemed so pushy. "They kept calling me asking me, how far I was from Walmart," she says.

The red flags didn't stop there. Mia says before sending the money, an employee at the MoneyGram location warned her.

"They were like, don't do it it's a scam," she says.

Mia backed out at the last minute and it's a good thing she did. That's because that money she was supposed to wire, she never would have seen again. Turns out she was dealing with a scammer posing as a loan company.

Even though Mia blew them off she says she still gets calls from that same scammer offering her that "loan."

“I'm not stupid, but they really do like, suck you into it, they're really good at it," she says.

Had Mia actually wired $295, she most likely would have then been asked to wire another couple hundred to cover application fees and they would have kept demanding money until she was out of money.

Always remember, if you have to hand over money to get a loan, you're getting scammed.