Washington State Department of Financial Institutions

Consumer Alert

Advance Fee Scam Alert: Bismarke Financial Lending Services

September 7, 2007

Bismarke Financial Lending Services telephones individuals who apply for loans online. Someone from the company claims that the victim has qualified for a personal loan, but must prepay several months’ payments in order to establish a good payment history. The victim is faxed a contract to sign and the individual promises that the victim’s loan will be deposited to his or her checking account within a few days. The individual requests that the victim send the prepayment by Moneygram or Western Union. Once the money is received, the victim never receives loan proceeds. Repeated calls by victims may be met with a request for additional money due to an “error” with their approval.

Scammers use wire transfers and similar methods of payment because they are irreversible, untraceable, and anonymous.

Bismarke Financial Lending Services claims to have an address of 1150 First Ave. Ste. 800, King of Prussia, PA 19406. They are not located at this address. Bismarke Financial Lending Services is not licensed by the Department of Financial Institutions to lend money in Washington. Additionally, Bismarke Financial Lending Services is not registered with either the Washington State Department of Revenue or the Office of the Secretary of State to do business in Washington.

Some of the names used in the scam are Charles Valerio, Mark Laycock, Steven William, Michael Minyone and/or Michael Mignone.

Although Bismarke Financial Lending Services appears to have shut down, consumers should be aware that there are money similar scams. Consumers should never forward money in order to obtain a personal loan.

Victims should report their experiences to the Internet Fraud Complaint Center at www.ic3.gov.

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