Some companies promise a loan regardless of your credit history, and require you to pay a “processing” fee first. The catch? It is usually a scam. Here are seven signs of a possible advance-fee loan scam:
1. There is no credit check
Every reputable lender, whether they are affiliated with a credit union or another financial institution, will want to verify that the borrower can repay the loan before they agree to the transaction. If a lender doesn’t bother checking your credit score and history, you can be sure they have no intention of lending you a dime.
2. You are asked to pay an upfront fee
You should not have to pay for a loan. When a lender asks you to pay a loan collateral, insurance or fees by prepaid debit card or wire transfer – you are being scammed! Back out of the deal before it is too late.
3. The lender is not registered in your state
According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), every lender and loan broker must be officially registered in the states where they conduct business. A legitimate lender will have a list of states posted on their site to let borrowers know where they are registered. If you can’t find this information on the site, and the lender refuses to provide further details, they are likely not legitimate.
4. The lender is not affiliated with any financial institution
Authentic lenders must operate under a bank or credit union charter. This information should be clearly posted on the lender’s site. If it is missing, you are dealing with a scammer.
5. You are urged to act immediately
If a lender stresses that you must submit your information and make your upfront payment right away, you are likely interacting with a scammer. The scammer is only trying to get you to act without thinking.
6. The site isn’t secure
Whenever money is changing hands online, you will want to verify that you are dealing with a legitimate site. The site’s address/URL will give you an easy clue: Look for an “s” after the “http” in the address. If it is there, the site is secure; if it is not, the site is not secure and it is likely a scam.
7. The lender has no physical address
Always do a quick online search using the lender’s official name. If it is legitimate, a search should bring up a physical address and phone number for the company.
Are you short on funds? Don’t get scammed – let us help! Call, click, or stop by your local SeaComm branch today to learn about our personal loans and other ways we can help you keep your finances on track.
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