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Victim of rogue moneylenders urges people to be cautious about 'quick and easy' loans

Gardaí have also issued a warning.

AN UNAUTHORISED FIRM offering quick loans to people with poor credit is suspected by gardaí and banking officials to be laundering money, TheJournal.ie has learned.

The company, trading as Liteway Loans Ireland, is the latest in over 400 similar lending firms which have tried to operate in Ireland. 

On the Liteway Loans website, a company registration number is provided. However, when this number is inputted into the Company Registrations Office search function, a different credit firm’s details appear.

This other firm is a registered firm and was set up in the early 2000s. There is no suggestion that the authorised firm was involved in any illegal activity. 

Liteway Loans’ official website looks professional on first inspection. However, there are many sentences written in fractured English, such as: “Moment Arrives to Fill Financial Gap – We let you to do so.”

The site also includes a testimonial from a man in “Craigavon City”.

The site states:

“We present a perfect financial backup that does not ask for strict lending norms.”

It claims to offer loan approval on the day of application.

The firm’s official Twitter account has nine followers and its bio reads: “My self Brenda Miller. I live in Dublin, Ireland. I worked at LitewayLoans as a Financial Adviser. It offers quick loans same day in Ireland.”

The profile picture is of actress Hannah Murray, who played Cassie in British teenage drama Skins. 

Screenshot 2020-12-14 at 10.35.48 AM A screengrab of the official account for the firm. Source: Twitter

‘I was calling them as I needed money’

John Keniry was one of the people allegedly duped by this firm. 

Speaking to TheJournal.ie, Keniry described how he was in need of a quick loan and found this firm after searching online. Initially, he was told he would have to complete a transaction involving €150 to process the loan transaction. 

“I was calling them as I needed money. It wasn’t like I had €150 lying around. I wouldn’t need to call them if I did,” John explained. 

“They rang me back and said they could send the money to me and I could send it [back to them] by Western Union.”

John said he then received another call from a man who said Liteway Loans was going to send another €150 as the initial sum had not been received because it was the weekend.

However, John subsequently received a call from his bank which said it had blocked the money from going into the account. 

“What they told me is that I got an innocent person’s money into my account which I then sent on India,” he said.

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The Central Bank confirmed Liteway Loans is not authorised.

A spokesman said: “Liteway Loans Ireland is not authorised by the Central Bank of Ireland. Before engaging with a firm, consumers are advised to take the SAFE test.

“Consumers should never provide personal information or agree to send money until they are satisfied that the firm they are dealing with is authorised and genuine. The Central Bank’s website also contains information on Avoiding Scams and Unauthorised Activity.

 ”The Central Bank has a dedicated unit, the Unauthorised Providers Unit, which investigates alleged instances of unauthorised activity carried out by individuals or entities that are not authorised by the Central Bank. Members of the public can report to us in writing or by phoning us on +353 (0)1 224 4000. All instances of alleged unauthorised activity are investigated in full by the Central Bank.

Garda warning

Gardaí have also issued a warning to the public not be duped by this type of scam. 

A spokesman urged the public to never apply for a loan from a firm which is not authorised by the Central Bank.

He said: “Never allow your account to be used by another to move money or to hold money for any period (long or short) as this enables fraudsters to complete their crimes, and deprives innocent victims of their hard-earned cash.

“Unfortunately there are no cheap easy loans available in the market and if the offer sounds too good to be true, it almost certainly is too good to be true. Always report the matter to your local Garda station.”

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