Louisville man falls for scam, out hundreds of dollars

Ryan Booker though he was getting the money to pay off some bills, but instead, he ended up even farther in the hole.
Updated: May. 14, 2019 at 6:19 PM EDT
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LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - A Louisville man was desperate to get a loan and thought he could trust the so called "company" he was working with. Turns out it was all a scam.

Ryan Booker, 26, thought he finally got a break. He needed money to pay off medical expenses and bills. He tried to get loans and was denied. Then he got an email last week.

Ryan Booker was scammed out of $450, thinking he was providing a fee for a loan.
Ryan Booker was scammed out of $450, thinking he was providing a fee for a loan.(WAVE 3 News)

"Was thinking it was too good to be true or this may really work," Booker said.

Booker was told he was approved for an $8,000 loan from LightStream A Division of SunTrust Bank. So, he did everything they asked. They asked for his money.

“Saying I need 100 dollars for wire transfer fees, well I think fees occur with doing different things,” Booker said. “I went about it.”

Booker says the scammer told him they needed even more money and instructed him to buy Google play cards. He bought ten of them, spending another $350 and gave the alleged loan company the card codes.

"I trusted this emblem of LightStream a Division of SunTrust Bank," Booker said. "I knew it was a real bank here in the United States."

LightStream and SunTrustBank are legit companies but, the letter Booker got isn't.

“They asked him to pay money up front, big red flag there,” Reanna Smith-Hamblin, BBB President/CEO said. “Anyone can copy someone’s logo. It happens all the time. People they think they are dealing with a legitimate company and it looks real, he even got a contract.”

The contract Booker got was labeled with a “seal of approval.” The BBB says if you look closely at the contract you will notice grammatical errors, even fuzzy logos.

The "approval" letters that were sent to 26-year-old Ryan Booker.
The "approval" letters that were sent to 26-year-old Ryan Booker.(Ryan Booker)

"You'll also notice there is no physical address for the company, an email and a phone number," Smith-Hamblin said.

WAVE 3 News Reporter Maira Ansari called the number on the fake contract and after several minutes on the phone was given the runaround.

The BBB says that is no surprise.

"Typically when it's something like this the people are out of the country and they use disposable phones," Smith-Hamblin said.

Booker knows that he will likely never see his $450 but, he did learn a valuable lesson.

"Ask questions," Booker said. "My main one thing is trust your gut."

The BBB says scammers will ask for Google play cards or any other type of prepaid cards so they can buy what they want or even sell off the numbers on the cards.

WAVE 3 News did speak to representatives from the real LightStream and SunTrust Bank, they confirmed that the contract Booker got was fake and thier fraud department is looking into it.

A representative for LightStream, A division of SunTrust Bank sent a statement to WAVE 3 News saying:

"LightStream will never send unsolicited emails, text messages or letters asking clients to provide, update or verify personal or account information such as passwords, Social Security Numbers, PINs, credit or check card numbers, or other confidential information.

If you have received a suspicious email, communication or believe you may be the victim of a possible scam, please forward the information to emailabuse@SunTrust.com."

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