The Federal Trade Commission has shut down the operator of a large network of online loan sites that promised to find people the loans with the lowest rates, but actually sold users' data to third-parties, most of which weren't even lenders.
The target of FTC's ire is a company named Blue Global Media, LLC and its CEO, Christopher Kay, against which the FTC filed an official complaint last Monday, July 3.
According to the FTC, since 2012 Blue Global Media operated a network of 38 websites that promised users to match them with the best payday, personal, or auto loans using Blue Global Media's proprietary technology.
Hoping to find loans with the smaller interest rate and friendlier terms, users entered a slew of personal details on Blue Global Media's websites, such as names, email addresses, home addresses, phone numbers, Social Security numbers, financial and banking information, driver's license, state ID numbers, income data, military status, home ownership info, and many other more.
The FTC says that Blue Global Media allegedly collected in-depth data from over 15 million loan applications, but only 2% of these were sold to actual loan lenders, while the rest was sold to non-lenders, with complete disregard for user privacy or without obtaining the loan seeker's permission.
In addition, the FTC says that Blue Global Media allegedly didn't match loan applications based on loan rates or terms, and in most cases, it sold the loan application to the first lender that offered to fill it, to the detriment of the users who used their site.
Two days after the FTC filed its official complaint, both Blue Global Media and Kay agreed to a settlement. As per the settlement's terms, the company agreed to a default judgment of $104,470,817, the sum they obtained from selling customer data to non-lenders.
According to the settlement, they also filed for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, effectively agreeing to shut down all operations.
As per a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, the FTC will sell off any Blue Global Media assets it can get its hands on to cover a portion of the $104 million fine.
Below is a list of all domains that Blue Global Media used to allegedly trick users into giving their personal details. All now redirect to the FTC website.
100dayloans.com 1hour-advance.com 1hourdirect.com 1hourlend.com 1hourpersonalloan.com 247loan.com 24sevenloan.com 3clickloan.com 3yearloans.com 5kloans.com 5minuteloanapplication.com 800900cash.com autoloansusa.com cashmojo.com clickcashadvance.com clickloans.net clicknloan.com eloanpersonal.com fast-advance.com fast-advance.net faxfreecash.com highspeedpayday.com houradvance.com littlepayday.com loanmarketplace.com magicinstallmentloans.com money411.com moneynowusa.com moneytoday.com moomoocash.com needcash.com netloansearch.com netloanusa.com oneclickloan.com onehourloan.com rockstarloan.com sevenminuteloans.com supersonicpayday.com