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Neighborhood Watch

by Prosper on 10/2/08

CommunityLike any good neighbor, we need to be on the lookout for predators in the community.

Recently, a fellow community member was approached (via a Prosper Message) by a “potential lender” interested in supporting their listing. The lender requested additional information on the borrower’s business, including their website and/or yellow page link. Shortly after providing the requested company information, our borrower received a phone call at their business asking details about their Prosper listing. The purpose of the call soon became apparent. After inquiring about the interest rate our borrower achieved through the bidding process, he suggested his company could offer a “better deal”. Our community member immediately recognized this as a “shady offer” and ended the conversation.

When Prosper learned about the incident, an investigation was launched and the offender’s marketplace access was terminated.

Prosper is committed to ensuring and maintaining the integrity of the marketplace. We want both borrowers and lenders to feel confident that transactions within the marketplace adhere to all of the policies and protections afforded community members. These policies, such as not disclosing personal identification information and not communicating or soliciting communication outside of the site, are there for your protection and the protection of your community neighbors. After all, even if the deal offered in this situation had been a good one, acting on it would have been breaching the trust of the community lenders who “followed the rules” and, in good faith, bid down the interest rate of the loan.

Feedback from community members is one of the best sources of identifying inappropriate activity. You are, after all, the only one aware of communication exchanges outside of the marketplace. We want to know about it (call or email us), investigate it and prevent future occurrences. Rest assured, we will terminate the offender’s access and end their prowling. Your vigilance will contribute to the security of our neighborhood.

Thank you for participating in our Neighborhood Watch.

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3 Responses

NewHorizon | October 3rd, 2008 at 12:09 pm

“Like any good neighbor, we need to be on the lookout for predators in the community.”

Indeed. But sometimes, as Prosper’s history has already shown, individual pieces of a bigger puzzle have the appearance of being inconsequential – not rising to the level of reporting it to Prosper – and would thus be destined to go unnoticed if it weren’t for the collaborative effort of the Prosper community.

And even after suspicious activity has been taken up to be investigated by Prosper, I submit that multiple sources of information may yet prove to be more valuable – that is, more able to help protect the Prosper community – than the single individual who reported the incident. Meanwhile, reporting the suspicious activity to the community, not just to Prosper, is something the community members deserve for their own protection, and is of course consistent with Prosper’s philosophy of transparency.

Unfortunately, this voluntary collaboration has been largely shut down with last year’s switch of the forum format.

Prosper, when it comes to protecting the marketplace – OUR marketplace, OUR “neighborhood”, we all remain best served by people-to-people interactions – not just people-to-Prosper.

Shauna | October 3rd, 2008 at 2:12 pm

Was it really Prosper’s neighborhood watch that caught this? I recall reading about this very case in a non-Prosper board. In fact, this borrower was sent a warning not to solicit bids – though the borrower was reporting this solicitation. It seems there is a neighborhood watch but it’s not happening on the moderated boards.

Clarence Oddbody | October 3rd, 2008 at 3:34 pm

See Prosper, you really had a wonderful community. Don’t you see what a mistake it would be to just throw it all away?

posted in Borrowers,Lenders 3 comments »

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