People from California to Massachusetts are learning about Rockford, and not in the way the city would like. They are the victims of a scam known as advanced fee loans.
"What they do is promise individuals they will guarantee a loan from between $10,000-50,000 without any collateral, and all they need to do to qualify for this loan is pay an advance fee ranging from $450 to $2,000," says Dennis Horton of the Better Business Bureau.
But Horton says after the money is sent, it’s gone.
"You never get the money, you don't know who you sent it to, their background, anything about them," Horton says.
There are two companies which are currently running this scam using Rockford addresses, Pro Team Financial and Rockford Trust Capital. Pro Team Financial claims to operate out of a Mulford Road building occupied by one of the area's premier companies, Gambino Realtors.
"We have no affiliation with them whatsoever. Frankly, we can't figure out how they got our address on their website," says Jonathan Krause, President of Gambino Realtors.
Krause says the company began receiving letters addressed to Pro Team Financial about three months ago.
"When we started getting phone calls saying they had sent money and had not received any response, we started getting suspicious that something was amiss," Krause says.
Krause says his company has been forwarding all mail to the U.S. Postal Inspector. Also an e-mail to the bogus company was sent which was got no reply.
While Pro Team Financial uses the Gambino address, Rockford Trust Capital claims to be located in a vacant house on the outskirts of Rockford.
Horton doesn't know why Rockford was chosen as a front for these two scams.
"It could be that at one point they drove through here, it could be that they're located here," he says.
He adds that if someone asks us for money up front, be very suspicious; this is not the way reputable businesses operate.
If you suspect a scam, seek more information. If it still doesn't add up, the Better Business Bureau says to contact police.