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Cancer Survivor Devastated By Loan Scam

The scam is successful because it preys on people who are already in financial trouble and desperate for money.

June Smoot thought battling cancer was the biggest fight of her life. But when she went looking for a loan to pay for all the treatments, a scammer took advantage.

The reason this scam is so successful is because it preys on people who are already in financial trouble and desperate for money.

“I needed the money to pay these bills and I thought this man was legit and was going to help us,” said Smoot, the latest victim to come forward.

Smoot needed help getting back on her feet after battling breast cancer.

“I had a lumpectomy. I had lymph nodes removed,” she said. “I had 33 treatments of radiation.”

Now, she’s battling the mountain of debt that has come along with treatment.

Smoot has racked up thousands of dollars in medical bills.

She applied online to what she thought was a legitimate loan company.

Smoot soon got a call from a man posing as a loan officer with the company and the answer to her problems.

“The man knew my story because he asked me what I wanted the loan for and I told him about the cancer, I told him about my kidneys and the medical bills building up," she said.

The man claimed she was approved for a $10,000 loan and said the company would start depositing money into her account.

“He says, 'Alright you’ll have your $10,000 in three days,'” Smoot said. “He just had me convinced that he was a loan officer.”

Smoot said the scammer convinced her to hand over all of her banking information, then required her to set up Mobile Online Banking.

He claimed it was required in order for them to transfer the money.

Smoot soon saw her bank account increase by $2,300, but she didn’t know soon that would change.

The fake loan officer had required she take out $2,000 of the money they had just deposited and put it on a Walmart gift card.

He claimed this was all part of their loan process.

All of it happened over the phone; Smoot never stepped foot into a bank.

“And in three days, I was almost $2,500 in the hole," she said.

Turns out the deposit came from two checks that turned out to be fraudulent.

The deposit had been made electronically; that’s why he had initially required she set up mobile banking.

“It’s people like him who take advantage of people like us, and we have to be careful,” Smoot said as she wiped away tears.

Experts warn to wait until a deposit clears before spending it and be leery of companies who ask you to pay with gift cards.

Also, be aware that these scammers use different bank names that are usually legitimate financial institutions and don’t give out personal information over the phone.

Finally, hang up and look up the company’s telephone number directly and make sure you have the right company and telephone number.

Smoot filed a report at the St. Lucie County Sheriff's Office.

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