Business

Office of Fair Trading shuts down bogus loan websites

No Fax Payday Loan website
Image caption One of the websites being closed down by the OFT

Bogus websites claiming to offer loans to people have been closed down by the Office of Fair Trading (OFT).

The 19 websites did not have licences to operate as credit brokers.

However, the OFT said they were really aimed at garnering people's personal data, which was then sold to other businesses.

The websites were all run from abroad and are being taken down or closed with the help of the website hosts.

"Websites like the ones we have shut down target vulnerable people and those who may not have easy access to credit," said David Fisher, the OFT's director of consumer credit.

"We advise consumers to think carefully before entering personal data into any lead generation website, in case this information is passed on without their knowledge."

The "lead generation" websites, as they are known, are named on the OFT's website.

The regulator said they were particularly aimed at people with disabilities or on state benefits, people in military service, or people who find it hard to get credit.

In some cases, the information gleaned from the targets was sold to other credit brokers and debt management firms.

"But you could end up on a mailing list for just about anything," said an OFT spokeswoman.

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