If you are in a pinch, getting a loan online is one of the fastest ways to get the finances you need. Getting a loan online can be safe, quick, and effective, but it can also be dangerous due to the increasing number of scammers lurking around the internet trying to take advantage of unsuspecting loan seekers.
Some of these loan scammers trick people by getting them to pay an upfront fee to facilitate a loan application. In such situations, the upfront fee is usually taken then the fake online loan company disappears.
In other cases, the scamming loan site might be after your personal information which they either use to access and steal from your bank account or sell the information to criminal elements on the internet. Either way, falling for an online loan scam can have very painful consequences.
To avoid falling prey to internet scammers when next you’re looking for a loan online, you can protect yourself by looking out for the following red flags.
When you use a search engine such as Google to look for online lenders, you’ll likely notice at the top of search results a variety of online lender ads. A majority of these advertised websites are often not lenders but actually scammers.
You can easily verify the name and legitimacy of these advertised online lenders on BBB. If you fail to do due diligence before applying on these advertised loan websites, you risk having your personal information stolen and your banking security jeopardized.
Online lenders that ask for an advanced fee
Less subtle online scammers will ask you for an upfront fee before processing your loan application. More often than not, immediately the upfront fee is received, the scamming site breaks all communication with you and you never hear from them again. The advanced fee will likely be requested for over the phone after you’ve filled an online form. The caller might speak in a foreign accent and have poor phone etiquette. Such callers also often try to pressure their victims to pay quickly by stating the loan offer is available for only a limited time period
The lender has no physical address
Once you visit a lending website, try to locate where the company’s office address is displayed. You can verify the authenticity of the address by using Google Maps which will show you if there’s actually an office building at the listed address. And if a website doesn’t contain any physical address whatsoever, it’s best for you to step back because such a lending site is likely running a scam.
Lender’s website is unsecure
Don’t disregard warnings saying a lender site’s security certificate is expired. Also, be attentive to the URLs you click on. If the URL is preceded by http and not https, that is a red flag. This is because the “s” in https stands for secure and most scamming sites don’t go through the trouble of securing their sites.
These warning signs will help you differ between fraudulent loan websites and authentic ones. Stay secure and transact online safely to avoid losing when you should be gaining.