Community helps victim of personal loan scam


HARRIMAN, Tenn (WATE) Wednesday, July 10 we reported how scammers drained the bank account of a disabled woman in Harriman.

With no money and her rent due, Carol Gatewood faced eviction, but not anymore. We caught up with her twice since we reported her story.

Carol needed a small loan, to pay off some debts, and in early June she believed a local company was providing her a legitimate loan. Unfortunately, she fell victim to the personal loan scam.

Personal loan scams are on the rise as more of our information and lives go online. Many who saw Gatewood’s story not only learned from her mistake, but reached out a helping hand.

After fear of eviction, Gatewood will not have to move from her small apartment in Harriman. At 59-years-old, the former nurse lives alone in a low-income apartment community, along with her comfort dog Precious.

In early June, she wanted to consolidate $500 in bills and applied for a loan online with a company she believed to be local to Harriman. With no questions asked by Gatewood, the loan company sent her a check for $1,600, which was three times the amount she needed.

“They told me that they were going to do better than $500, and going to give me a loan of $1,500. I thought it was amazing, because I just live on Social Security,” said Gatewood.

She said the money was directly deposited into her checking account. After giving all of her account information to the so-called loan company; turns out the scammers took all of her money.

With all of her money gone, and a notice left for her to vacate her apartment if her rent isn’t paid within 14-days.

Just days after the story aired, strangers from around East Tennessee came to her air. Gatewood said that one lady even drove from Crossville.

She explained that, “They went to my office and paid my rent. Amazing things come from amazing people. The outpouring of love and concern that people have, I never expected that. I’m very grateful.”

Gatewood saying that she will be vigilant with the money she’s received, and will pay all her bills and get food in her house. While laughing she also said that she will never apply for another loan again.

On our second return, we arrived with a gift from an anonymous donor, and we presented her a sealed envelope.

She was overwhelmed as she opened the envelope to find $550, and now she will be debt free.

From being scammed out of all her money, and potentially facing eviction, Gatewood is now debt free, and grateful to the generosity of so many. She learned from her experience that legitimate lenders will ask questions, and legitimate loan companies won’t send you a check for more than what you requested.


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