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Elderly woman catches potential checking scam before it's too late

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NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) -

Two Midstate women are sounding the alarm about a scam, after they say someone got a hold of their checking information and got away with their cash.

Now, we've learned it's happened to hundreds of others.

Sarah Stevenson noticed last week something on her bank statement just didn't make sense.

"I hadn't had any checks like that you know, and that's when I got so suspicious," she said.

The statement showed an electronic check cashed for $30, with her checking account number and routing number, made out to payday loan company FastLoan4Me.

She had never heard of the place before, so the woman's daughter, Carolyn Carver, got a stop payment issued on the charge.

"My mom is financially secure, so she wouldn't need a fast loan from any rinky-dink place like this," Carver said.

Stevenson is 86 years old, doesn't use the Internet and says she never applied for a small loan.

Carver called the business to try and get to the bottom of it for her mom.

"You can call them day and night, hundreds of times and you won't get them to answer," Carver said.

FastLoan4Me's website says it's based in Nevada, and when we tried calling Thursday, the business's line had been disconnected.

"We have over 700 complaints on this company. They use a variety of names," said Kathleen Calligan, with the Better Business Bureau of Middle Tennessee.

The Better Business Bureau has already investigated FastLoan4Me.

When the BBB researched the company's address, it was found to be a postal center not a physical address that is engaged in business.

The BBB said some victims actually applied for payday loans only to have their information stolen.

"Most likely nothing but an internet web shell. Most likely these people are operating off shore," Calligan said.

As to how her information got out there, Stevenson says she has no idea, but her close watch over her bank statements helped her catch the issue before she lost any more money.

The State Consumer Affairs Department has one open case against FastLoan4Me, and is still investigating, saying they've had at least five complaints.

Tennessee authorities are urging anyone who has had a problem with this company to give them a call.

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