GARDINER — Maine officials are warning consumers to be wary of an advance-fee loan scam operated by two Florida companies.

The Bureau of Consumer Credit Protection says the two companies — Fairfield Brokerage and Oracle Lending Group — claim to be located in downtown Portland’s Time and Temperature Building. Neither company is housed there.

Several out-of-state consumers have asked Maine officials about web sites posted by the two companies that purport to offer short-term consumer loans. In each instance the consumers were asked to transfer advance fees to a Florida location in order to secure the promised loans.

Neither company is a licensed lender, and advance-fee consumer loans are illegal under federal law.

Maine officials say advance fee loan scams are a growing financial menace that can be costly to consumers.

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