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The Real Deal: Inside the Mind of a Scammer, Part 1

Updated: Friday, February 28 2014, 12:34 PM EST
ALBANY - An International scammer tells us how he's ripped off thousands of Americans and why, it's a story you'll see only on CBS6.  The man contacted our Investigative Reporter, Jennifer Lewke after seeing a number of stories she's done over the years on payday loan scams.  The documents he has provided to CBS6 are loaded with the personal information of thousands of people, some who live right here in the Capitol Region.
 
This self-admitted scammer lives in India.  He initially contacted Lewke on Facebook and after corresponding for a number of weeks, she spoke with him over Skype, he provided her with a number of documents and then he agreed to do an interview.  CBS6 is protecting his identity because he fears for his safety but we have vetted him and believe he is who he says he is and his experience in ripping-off Americans is vast.   
 
Right now, more than 7,000 miles away in the City of Ahmedabad, India, hundreds of people are working the phones trying to squeeze as much money out of unsuspecting Americans as possible—that's according to Nadir who tells CBS6, he used to be one of those callers.  "I just feel that it's wrong, I don't want to do this," he says.
 
It was a story that aired in January of 2013 with a local woman, Tina Montello who was taken for hundreds of dollars in a payday loan scam, that lead Nadir to contact CBS6.  When asked what he was hoping for by doing an interview with Lewke, Nadir said, "I just want to stop it, this thing... that's it."
 
The scam starts here in America, normally with a simple online search.  You type in "payday loan" and up pops a number of websites that promise to connect you with a lender who can help.  These sites act as a middle-man, selling the personal information that you provide.  Apparently, some of them don't care who buys it.  Nadir and the people he worked for in India spent, on average, 20 cents for one person's personal information.  "You didn't have to prove that you were a business, that you were able at all to provide payday loans to these people?" Lewke asked Nadir to which his response was, "nothing, nothing, they just need money to their account. Once it's there, they will forward me the leads, that's it."
 
From there the scam works just as we've described in our stories over the past few years, "They wanted to offer me a loan and I said yes, and they said I could have anything from $2,000-$10,000 and I said $6,000," Montello told CBS6.  But first, the scammers claim you need to prove an ability to payback, so they require you buy a pre-loaded debit card and provide them with the number off of the back of it.  "Once they have given us the money and the money is out of the card, we will give excuses that now your credit score is low, just get another green dot card for $200 and it will be solved, once they get it, another problem will be created and it will go on," Nadir says.
 
In the end, it was those looking for money who ended up even further in the hole and that's not even the worst of it, "We used the details, the information to hack their bank accounts, to make fake cards, that are also activated on the same details," Nadir says.  To back up his claims, Nadir sent CBS6 a number of documents.  Just one of the print-outs was thousands of pages of personal information…names, addresses, social security numbers, bank account numbers, bank account routing numbers, driver's license numbers of thousands of Americans.  The folks on that list live all over the country, there are victims in every state, more than 100 here in New York, 10 of which are from right here in the Capitol Region.
 
CBS6 tracked down a number of the people whose information was on the document and confirmed that the personal information Nadir provided was accurate.  Edith Pagen lives in Rensselaer, she applied for a payday loan back in 2010 and thought the whole thing was behind her, she had no idea her personal information was still being accessed regularly by scammers.   "That, that's my social security, it is, that's my job, they got my date of birth, they got my bank, that is my checking account and that's the routing number…it's scary, they got my license, it's really scary," she said when looking at the information provided.
 
CBS6 has turned over the documents containing all of the personal information to the FBI who says it is now launching its own investigation into Nadir's claims. Nadir has agreed to speak with investigators and provide them with further information he claims to have about the scam and others who are involved.
 
CBS6 will continue its investigation Thursday night at 11pm.The Real Deal: Inside the Mind of a Scammer, Part 1


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Hello and thank you for stopping by The Real Deal web-page! I'm hoping you'll find some useful information here. I (Jennifer Lewke) will be updating this page daily to bring you the latest news on anything and everything that may impact your wallet. Whether it's a bad business trying to rip you off, a contractor who took your money and ran, the government wasting your tax dollars, or a telemarketer who just won't stop calling, my goal is to uncover it and hopefully prevent it from happening again!

On the right-hand side of this page, you'll see a section labled "Links" --these will all take you to websites for organizations that help protect consumers. Most of the groups have the authority to fine or shut down bad businesses so it's important to file the proper complaints to get some action.

I'm happy to look into any issue you have to get you the Real Deal. You can reach me anytime at (518) 381-4992 or by email at jlewke@wrgb.com. I hope to hear from you soon!

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