ARKANSAS CITY, Kan. - An Ark City woman we'll call "Melissa" needed a loan.
She went online and searched for some businesses. Within hours, a company calling itself "United Personal Only" began emailing and calling her, promising her a loan....but with conditions.
"He goes, well, you quality for 7-thousand, but you have to go out and get a GreenDot card, to show proof that you can make the payment.," says Melissa.
Melissa bought a GreenDot card and put 200 dollars on it. She called the company back and read the card's numbers to them.
But their demands were far from over.
"Then, he goes, now you gotta go out and get another GreenDot card," says Melissa. "And I'm like, for what? And he says, to show proof of insurance."
The company told Melissa they were affiliated with the Better Business Bureau. She believed them and gave the company another 200 dollars.
Then, once again, the company demanded Melissa buy yet another GreenDot card. When she refused, her problems only got worse.
"He told me, I was going to jail in two days because I won't make a payment to them," says Melissa.
Denise Groene with the Kansas Better Business bureau warns that those applying for loans should remember one key thing.
"You never have to pay money upfront to obtain a loan," Groene says. "It's actually illegal."
Now, more than a month after saying no to the company, Melissa gets threatening emails and voicemails.
During one she received in early April, from a man calling himself an attorney, she's threatened with jail time and the loss of her job.
"This is Steven Brown, calling from Winstead and Associates," the voicemail said. "The reason for my call is to inform you that there are three allegations that have been filed against your name, as well as your social security number. So, make sure to call us back on my number before you get arrested or terminated from your workplace. Goodbye and have a blessed day!"
KAKE News googled the phone number used to call Melissa. Our search brought up page after page of fraud complaints.
One says, "I received this call threatening me because i applied for a cash pay advance loan."
So, we decided to call back the number Melissa was supposed to call herself, the one left on her voicemail recording.
It sounded like the same man answered, but he used a different name. And was very hard to understand.
The man, who spoke with a very thick foreign accent, said he was attorney Michael Davis. When pressed to go into further detail about his calls and threats, Davis hung up.
Melissa says she's learned an important lesson from all this, but she won't soon forget her nightmare experience. She relies on child support, and lost about 400 dollars in the scam.
The BBB also warns to never deal with any money lender who promises you a loan before even talking to you or knowing your credit score.