When you need an infusion of cash, applying for a personal loan might seem like a natural option. But have you ever considered what would happen if something went wrong in this whole equation?
Maybe you end up taking on more debt than you can afford to pay back, leading to a debt cycle that may generally be tricky to get out of. Maybe your loan payments fill your budget to the brim, leaving no room for anything other than essential expenses. Or maybe you end up doing serious harm to your credit score.
What these examples show us is that applying for a loan without putting the time in to make sure your financial situation is stable enough to handle the extra debt can be a dangerous business. But that’s not the only thing you need to be careful of.
If you stumble into an opportunity to accept an offer for an online loan, it must be safe, right? Well, not always. There are plenty of scammers looking to prey on unsuspecting people who are in desperate need of money, and it’s for this reason that it’s essential for you to keep an eye out for warning signs of an online loan scam. Once you know what to look for, you can direct yourself towards legitimate loan companies that you know will have measures in place to safeguard your personal information.
Let’s take a look at what legit personal loans are and what you should look out for to avoid an online loan scam.
Legitimate online loans are simply personal loans that are either funded and/or serviced by reputable organizations who comply with all applicable state and federal laws. These loans can come from any financial institution that offers or services loans online. Another key detail is that with these loans, all (or most) of the application, verification, funding, and repayment processes happen online.
By contrast, loan scams are offers for personal loans that you can’t trust. Their aim to is get a hold of your personal information, get you to pay illegitimate loan fees, get access to your Social Security number, and do all this without you ever getting any money.
When you encounter these offers, they may tell you that they won’t need to verify any of your financial or personal information, they don’t care about your credit score, or any number of things to get you interested.
It’s because of people like this and the potential consequences you’ll face for being in business with them that you need to do your due diligence when searching for legit personal loans.
So, what should you be looking out for when trying to spot signs of a scam? Here are some tips to help you out.
If you end up on a call with a representative from a loan company and they start to really apply pressure to get you to take out a loan or send them money in order for your to receive the funds, then look out. There’s a very good chance that you’re on the phone with a scammer.
Legitimate loan companies will never pressure you into applying for a loan. In general, they should always urge you to carefully review the terms of a loan before you accept an offer, and customer service representatives should be there to answer your questions and provide you with guidance, not harass you into making a decision.
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When it comes to legitimate online loans, transparency is the name of the game. That means that all the terms and details of your loan are clearly laid out in your loan agreement, and you don’t run into any hidden fees at any point during the borrowing/repayment process.
If any of the terms or figures of the loan being offered start to shift around, be on your guard. Maybe someone calls you to offer you a $5,000 loan, only for you to find out later that the number is actually $3,000. Or maybe you get an unsolicited email telling you that you’ve been approved for an $8,000 loan in the body of the email, but the subject line says $10,000. If these numbers start to jump around, you may be looking at a scam.
It’s true that legit loan companies may quote you a particular loan amount in an email that could change down the road once your personal and financial information have been verified, but in these cases, there should be clear and open communication throughout this process. No reputable company is going to change these amounts without explaining why this is happening. So, make sure to keep a close eye on any communication you receive from the loan company you’re dealing with, and be sure that everything is making sense.
In order to get into your good graces, someone trying to scam you may front as a legit loan company that you’ve heard of, or use a name so similar that you may not notice the difference. This is how they’ll try to lull you into a false enough sense of security to get you to accept a loan from them.
Before you sign any agreements or hand over any piece of personal information, there are a few things you can look at to try to discern whether the person contacting you is offering legit loans or not. For starters, you should pay close attention to their email address. An actual agent from a legitimate company would be using a branded email address. If the person you’re communicating with regarding the loan isn’t, then you may not be receiving a legitimate or safe loan offer.
Next, start looking for other pieces of information that you can easily validate. For example, if you’ve received an email offer, is there a phone number attached to it? If so (or even if they’ve called you initially), check to make sure this is a company number. If it’s just a private number – or maybe it’s not an active number at all – then be wary.
Lastly, do a simple search online to check to see if the website of the company that the person contacting you says they are from is legitimate. Do they have state licenses visible somewhere? Are loan details easily accessible? What do they say about their safety measures? These are all important details to look out for to make sure they’re offering legit online loans.
MoneyKey is an online direct lender that provides short-term, unsecured Loans and Lines of Credit to underserved consumers through a safe and secure platform. MoneyKey also arranges Installment Loans as a Credit Access Business and a Credit Services Organization in the state of Texas and services Lines of Credit offered by CC Flow, a division of Capital Community Bank.
If you’re in search of legitimate online loans to help you out in a financial emergency, MoneyKey may be able to assist you!
When you’re in a sticky financial situation, it might be tempting to accept the first loan you’re offered without a second thought. But no matter what your situation is, you always need to put in the time to make sure that what you’re being offered is coming from legit loan companies. If not, you could end up in a much worse situation than you were in before.
It’s also important to make sure you’re looking at loans that are suited to your circumstance and that you can afford to take on debt in the first place. All in all, do your due diligence, research what’s out there, look at your own financial situation, and find legitimate online loans that are geared to your own situation.