Scottsdale-based Blue Global Media, LLC settled charges of illegally selling the personal information of consumers who submitted online loan applications, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) says.
The company, and its CEO Christopher Kay, ran dozens of websites in which consumers filled out applications believing that they would be matched with “trusted lending partners” at the “lowest interest rate,” according to the complaint. Instead the FTC accuses the company of selling “those applications – including consumers’ sensitive data – to virtually anyone willing to pay for the leads.”
Among the data sold includes names, addresses, social security numbers and driver’s license numbers, the complaint says.
Of the 15 million applications that Blue Global Media received, only 2 percent actually made it to lenders, according to the FTC. The other 98 percent were sold to non-lenders including “to entities that used loan applications for purposes other than providing the consumer with a loan.”
The complaint says the company operated 38 internet domains between December 2012 and January 2017. Those include moneynowusa.com, 247loan.com, and littlepayday.com. (skip to pages 4 & 5 to see a full list of the websites involved)
The FTC also accused the company of not taking preventative action or even investigating after consumers complained that their information had been misused.
The settlement includes a $104 million judgment but the FTC says payment is suspended since the court was convinced that the company can’t afford it. Blue Global Media filed for bankruptcy protection in January 2017.
The company settled similar claims with New York State in March 2016. In that case, the company was handed a $1 million judgment.