Belfast Telegraph

Wonga: Naomi Long to report payday lender after 'mistakenly offered loan despite fraud attempt in her name'

By Richard Wheeler

Payday lender Wonga tried to offer a Northern Ireland MP a loan – even though her details had been handed to it by a fraudster, Parliament has heard.

Alliance MP Naomi Long is now reporting Wonga to the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) after it apparently failed to tell the police that someone had tried to fraudulently obtain credit in her name.

The East Belfast MP also told Parliament that despite Wonga wanting to place her on an exclusion list due to the attempted fraud, it still tried to offer a loan.

Ms Long said it was important for "aggressive marketing tactics" to be stamped out with proper regulation.

She said she initially contacted Wonga after receiving a marketing letter which claimed she had previously applied for credit with them – something she said was false.

The lender claimed it received her details after someone fraudulently tried to obtain credit in her name. Wonga retained them to ensure she would be excluded, she said.

But MPs heard she later received a mailshot from Wonga, with the firm insisting it was a mix-up. Ms Long questioned if the attempted fraudulent claim in her name had been reported to the police by Wonga and why the lender had not contacted her.

During a backbench business debate on payday loan firms, Ms Long told the Commons: "I wrote to (Wonga) because I was concerned that I got what appeared to be a marketing mailshot from them claiming that I had previously applied for credit with them, which I had not, and offering me terms that I could now apply for a loan.

"It now transpires they are claiming that the information that they had of mine had been used fraudulently to try and obtain credit in my name.

"They had retained my details on file for that purpose of excluding that but had mistakenly sent me this mailshot as part of a marketing test offering me this loan.

"I've asked whether this has been reported to the police. I've also asked them why they didn't contact me directly."

The Alliance MP said she intended to pass the matter on to the FCA and the Information Commissioner's Office, as she believes people getting unsolicited mailshots to their homes could be fooled into thinking it was something they had applied for.

Further reading

Payday lenders face fees backlash

Payday lenders accused over fees

Children 'groomed for payday loans'

Cap on payday lenders' charges: George Osborne caves in following intervention of Archbishop of Canterbury 

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