SACRAMENTO, Calif., Nov. 19, 2013 – Your Better Business Bureau serving Northeast California is warning consumers of Hoffman Credit Bureau (Hoffman), an alleged loan company whose victims range from Stockton, CA to Chicago, IL.
The Hoffman Credit Bureau purports to be a lending company based in Sacramento. BBB does not believe the company is headquartered or located in Sacramento as no corporate or local county records for the business can be located. The company touts a physical location of 300 Capital Mall which is empty and has been for 15 months according to the leasing broker. BBB was unable to locate a lenders license for Hoffman, neither is it registered with the California Attorney General’s Office nor posted the required $100,000 bond as required of advance fee lenders. BBB rates Hoffman Credit Bureau with an F rating, the lowest possible score.
One resident of Stockton Calif nearly became a victim after receiving a six page loan document that covered the terms of the loan requesting “collateral payment” of $450 be wired to an individual in Canada before receiving the loan. They also asked for personal banking information which he provided to them.
“What made me suspicious was when they said to send money to Canada,” exclaimed the elderly Stockton man who immediately contacted BBB after submitting information to Hoffman. Based on BBB advice, the man did not send the payment.
One, not-so-lucky Chicago resident said; “I was applying for a loan and they found me.” He later wired $450 to an individual in Canada after being approved for a loan from Hoffman. He said; “They called back and said there was an issue with the loan and needed another $450 dollars. I just want my refund, but I never heard back from any of them.”
Many of these offers also attempt to extract personal information which could lead to identity theft. The alleged loan officer requested the Stockton resident submit sensitive documents such as his social security card, Medicare card and driver’s license.
Your Better Business Bureau suggests these guidelines when evaluating a lender:
· Check with BBB for businesses and brands you can trust at necal.bbb.org
· Research a company before disclosing any personal information.
· Do not submit private personal information online unless you are certain who you are giving it to and it is a secure website.
· Verify that the company has the appropriate license. California lenders must be licensed with the Department of Business Oversight or Bureau of Real Estate or in cases where an advance fee is required contact the California Attorney General’s Office
· Be suspicious of anyone requiring you to wire money to a private party our outside the country
· If an advance fee is required, you should consider that in your purchasing decision
· If you need credit help, seek the assistance of a credit counseling organization
For more tips you can trust, visit necal.bbb.org or follow your Better Business Bureau serving Northeast California on Facebook and Twitter for the latest tips on staying secure.