How to Tell the Difference Between a Legitimate Short-Term Lender and a Fraud
You needed a bit of extra cash to reduce your overdraft, or even to prevent going into overdraft. Perhaps you don’t have a credit card, or even if you do, you always pay your balance in full to avoid the high interest rates that credit cards charge. And you didn’t want to apply for a traditional bank loan, since that takes time and involves too much paperwork. Perhaps you knew in advance that you wouldn’t even get a bank loan because of a low credit rating, or because you’re in between jobs, or because you already took out a bank loan and are still repaying it.
So, you surfed the internet and found an online lending company with an attractive website that says they guarantee they’ll grant you a short-term loan. You have nothing to lose, right? So, you fill out their online form and then click “apply.”
Wrong. No legitimate lender will guarantee a loan in advance for the simple reason that it would be a lousy business plan. That’s the first sign you’re about to be scammed. The second sign is if you’re not even asked to provide a credit history. No legitimate lender will approve a loan without reviewing the applicant’s credit score or at least receiving collateral, like a lien on your car.
Check to Make Sure the Lender is Legitimate
There are, of course, legitimate, online, short-term lenders. How do you know if they are? First, check to make sure they’re registered in your country, state or province to lend money. If they’re not, assume the worst. If they email you from a Gmail, Hotmail, Yahoo, Outlook, or other generic address, assume the worst. If they try to pressure you by promising a lower interest rate if you sign now, assume the worst. If they tell you that they want to loan you more than the figure you request, assume the worst.
Loan scams are an international phenomenon and people across the globe have been victimized by them. Report any suspicions you may have to the appropriate government agency. When you are victimized by fraud, you are generally entitled to receive a refund or, in certain circumstances, apply for a chargeback.
Many loan scams use corporate names that may sound like that of a bank, but aren’t. Or they may even pretend to be calling from a bank, or email you a text that includes a purloined logo of a legitimate bank. To check their credentials, say you’re busy and can’t speak right now, but ask for their phone number and address. If they hesitate or refuse, assume the worst. If they provide a number and address, check to make sure it’s the same used by the real bank, assuming, of course, you find that it’s a bank that actually exists. Finally, check to see that the name of the supposed bank is spelled the same way as that of the legitimate bank. It’s a common ploy to confuse potential victims by using a slight variation.
How Loan Scams Make Money
But, you’ll probably ask, how can imposters make money if the loan is a scam? They can do so in any one of a number of ways.
One prominent trick is to charge an application or other pre-processing fee, or even insurance on the loan so that the lender can be compensated should you not pay it back, ask you to wire the money (especially to an individual, not corporate account), and then promptly disappear. Legitimate lenders never ask for any fee to be paid by wire. Scammers do, because wired funds can never be recovered through a chargeback. Another gimmick is to pretend to ask you for a credit history by providing a credit card number, and then use it without your authorization to withdraw funds. Or they may ask you for a prepaid debit card so that payments will be untraceable. Either way, of course, they’ll promptly disappear after stealing your money.
If you think you have been victimized by a loan fee scam, consult with our fund recovery experts at MyChargeBack.