£1.5m ID scam hits Help Loan

Payday loan firms are likely to face greater scrutiny after an ID scam has hit Finland-based Help Loan for £1.5m, resulting in thousands of UK residents being hunted by debt collectors.
At least 5,000 people in the UK have been chased for loans which were taken out by ID fraudsters, according to a report on BBC Radio 4.
Help Loan, which is registered as MCO Capital, has apologised to people who have received letters and says it has reviewed its processes.
Experian confirmed that one of its address verification products had been used, although it is believed MCO had not signed up for anti-fraud measures.
In a statement, Experian said: “MCO used one part of Experian’s verification service that cross-references an applicant’s name with their address to provide an indication as to whether they live at that address. In terms of other measures the company uses, MCO is best placed to comment on its processes.”
Thousands of people have contacted the site Action Fraud, run by the National Fraud Authority, to complain they too have received a similar letter.
MCO believes the fraud has cost it at least £1.5m, although the firm says it has now taken steps to tighten security.
It said: “MCO Capital has been a victim of fraud and deeply regrets the inconvenience and distress caused to people who have also been victims and had false applications for loans made in their name.”
Payday loan companies offer people credit of between of up to £1,000 at interest rates of nearly 3,000 APR. Most must be repaid within 28 days, and are used to tide cash-strapped people over until their next salary payment.
There has been a surge of entrants into the market – many advertising on TV – although critics claim they exploit the vulnerable.
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