Long offered Wonga loan after fraud bid

Published Tuesday, 21 January 2014
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The payday lender Wonga mistakenly offered East Belfast MP Naomi Long a loan despite wanting to place her on an exclusion list after an attempt was made to fraudulently obtain credit in her name, Parliament has heard.

Long offered Wonga loan after fraud bid
Naomi Long raised concerns over payday loan companies in the Commons. (© Pacemaker)

The Alliance representative told the House of Commons she is to report the company to the Financial Conduct Authority and the Information Commissioner's Office following the incident.

The Alliance MP added it was important for "aggressive marketing tactics" to be stamped out with proper regulation.

Ms Long said she was initially contacted by Wonga after receiving a marketing letter which claimed she had previously applied for credit with them, an assertion she said was false.

The lender claimed they had received her details after someone fraudulently tried to obtain credit in her name and retained them to ensure she would be excluded, Ms Long explained.

But MPs heard she then received a mailshot from Wonga, with the company later 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 companies, 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 to say that my details had been used given that they had my address.

"I also asked them whether they could give me details of when this actually took place and also whether it was only those of us who had been in that category who had this marketing shot or whether it's a more general thing.

"But it's something I intend to pass on to the FCA and indeed to the Information Commissioner's Office because I believe this kind of abuse could lead people to think that perhaps this is something they haven't gone seeking but they are now getting unsolicited mailshots to their homes and others perhaps would be fooled into thinking it is something they previously applied for and thinking it was something they wanted and would now wish to take up.

"I think it is hugely important aggressive marketing tactics are stamped out and dealt with through proper regulation."

A spokesman for Wonga said the company has been in contact with Mrs Long and is dealing with her questions directly.

© UTV News
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6 Comments
Sophia Wright in Liverpool wrote (244 days ago):
@dogthebone anyone with any vague knowledge of the economy cares about this. People need to be taught to budget and manage their money well not be told that as soon as they're a few quid short there's an easy option of taking out a payday loan. It's unsustainable and will certainly lead to deeper personal financial problems for many people if not the nation as a whole. Not impressed that the Church of England decided to endorse Wonga by investing in them too
Stephen in Ballymena wrote (274 days ago):
It doesn't really matter what you say Naomi - you are on your way out - people have stopped listening to you.
realistic in planet earth wrote (275 days ago):
@John in Moira, dry your eyes, if it wasn't for Alliance the flag wouldn't be flying at all! grow up
dogthebone in belfast wrote (278 days ago):
Who really cares about this?
Johnny Cash in Belfast wrote (278 days ago):
Thats straight talking money talk there naomi!!!
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