In recent years, it has become apparent that consumer websites are not big fans of the payday loan industry. Due to the high-interest rates, excessive fees, and other exorbitant charges, consumer websites often give the big thumbs down to payday loan stores, whether they are in North America or Europe.
Would a payday loan company go as far as hiring hackers to attack one of these consumer websites?
A London court had presided over a case that alleged the owner of a small loan company hired a group of computer hackers to attempt to sabotage a consumer rights web portal after it published customers’ complaints about the lender. Moreover, that is just the beginning of the marvelous payday loan tale.
According to several reports, James Frazer-Mann, owner of Elite Loans, was accused of hiring hackers in the United States to launch a full-fledged attack against a website for Consumer Action Group (CAG), which enables consumers to talk about their rights in the United Kingdom open marketplace. It was also discovered by an FBI investigation that the defendant also paid the American hackers to go after websites of several other payday loan businesses that were competing against Elite Loans.
The hackers had ostensibly used a method known as a denial of service. This hacking technique floods the website with numerous requests to overload the system and prevents others from accessing it.
Frazer-Mann, who is located in South Wales, was sentenced to four months in prison – it was reported that it was reduced by 12 months. The payday lender is also mandated to serve 180 hours of unpaid work and pay close to $1,000 in costs after admitting to the five charges brought against him.
“The effects of such attacks are significant as the companies are so reliant on their websites to generate business,” said James Davies for the prosecution. “He claims his company had initially been targeted by other companies. It is an area of business which is highly competitive, and some use unethical practices. He said he lost £1,000 a day when his website was targeted.”
What was the culprit’s defense? Ben Douglas-Jones, speaking on behalf of the defense, explained that the UK forum had published personal information about Frazer-Mann and the website had encouraged users to harass him and his family.
“There’s a low risk of him committing further offenses of this nature. He is now working as a carpet cleaner,” Douglas-Jones said.
Meanwhile, Marc Gander, the founder of CAG, stated that this is evidence to showcase how far some payday loan companies are willing to go in an effort “silence their critics.” Gander added that he was willing to hire American hackers to perform “a very stupid thing to do.”
Since the end of the case, Elite Loans is no longer in operation in the marketplace. Also, Frazer-Mann is employed as a carpet cleaner.
The payday loan industry in Great Britain has certainly become a very interesting place.