Obtaining a loan can help alleviate the need for extra money when you need it most, and can help you afford items which may otherwise be unattainable. However, if you unknowingly agree to do business with a less than reputable company, you may be paying for much more than you bargained for. There are many companies both online and offline that pretend to be legitimate, when in fact they are predators trying to steal your money and personal information. In order to avoid these money scams, follow these general “rules of thumb” before entering into a loan agreement of any sort.
- Do your research-Before taking out a loan or purchasing a product both online and offline, make sure the company is reputable and in good standing. Even if a website or business looks professional and legitimate, it is important to take the extra time to research the company in order to avoid major financial issues down the road.
- Read the fine print-Before signing the dotted line, it is important to first read the fine print. If the details of any transaction or application aren’t apparent and understandable, don’t follow through. Incomprehensible or hard to find details could be warning signs of a scam. The fine print should also note the company’s interest rate, which could be up to 500% in some instances! So, make sure to thoroughly read through this section before committing to a contract.
- Check state laws-Since U.S laws regarding loans constantly change, it is important to review state laws regarding what kind of interest can be charged and the consequences of being unable to repay the company. This will prevent you from entering into a loan scam and protect you from unlawful collection practices.
- DO NOT pay anything up front– Companies that request funds prior to disbursing the loan are most likely loan scams.
- Never transfer money to someone you don’t know- If a lender, company, or person asks you to transfer them money and you have never heard of them before or you cannot find any information on them, do not do it! Keep this in mind especially if they are asking you to transfer money to another country. These encounters are almost always a scam.
- Review your account statements- After you have committed to a loan agreement, regularly review your account statements (bank, credit card, etc.) to check for unauthorized billing charges. If you suspect any unauthorized charges, ask your bank or the merchant about it, and then dispute it if necessary.
Falling victim to a money scam or loan scam can be a horrible experience to undergo both financially and emotionally. If this has unfortunately happened to you and your identity has been stolen in the process, check out these Immediate Steps to Take if Your Identity is Stolen to resolve the issue as quickly as possible.
†We offer personal loans from $1,000 to $25,000, with loans terms from 12 to 60 months. Minimum and maximum amounts dependent on an applicant’s state of residence and the underwriting of the loan. Loans between $1,500 and $15,000 may be funded online. Loans greater than $15,000 or less than $1,500 are funded through our branch network. Specific interest rates and fees are determined as permitted under applicable state law and depend upon loan amount, term, and the applicant’s ability to meet our credit criteria, including, but not limited to, credit history, income, debt payment obligations, and other factors such as availability of collateral. Not all rates and loan amounts are available in all states. Additional fees may apply to some loan offers; some state required and/or permitted fees may be treated as prepaid finance charges. Any such charges shall be in addition to the loan amount requested and/or approved and shall be fully disclosed to the applicant on his/her loan agreement. Not all applicants will qualify for the lowest rates or larger loan amounts, which may require a first lien on a motor vehicle not more than ten years old titled in the applicant’s name with valid insurance. Our loan by phone and online closing process requires a compatible mobile or computer device on which you can access your email and electronic documents. Not all loan types are eligible for loan by phone or online loan closing.
To help the government fight the funding of terrorism and money laundering activities, Federal law requires all financial institutions to obtain, verify, and record information that identifies each person who opens an account. As a result, under our customer identification program, we must ask for your name, street address, mailing address, date of birth, and other information that will allow us to identify you. We may also ask to see your driver's license or other identifying documents.
For any stated annual percentage rate (“APR”), the APR represents the cost of credit as a yearly rate and will be determined based upon an applicant’s credit at the time of application, subject to state law limits. A range of APR’s may be applicable, subject to state law limits and individual underwriting. Not all applicants will qualify for a lower rate. APR’s are generally higher on loans not secured by a vehicle, and the lowest rates typically apply to the most creditworthy borrowers. All terms and conditions of a loan offer, including the APR, will be disclosed during the application process. As an example, with an amount financed of $5,000.00 the borrower receives $5,000.00 at an APR of 29.99% and an interest rate of 28.77% which includes a finance charge of $3,640.96. Under these terms, the borrower would make 48 monthly payments of $180.02, for a total of payments of $8,640.96. The amount financed may not be the net proceeds paid if charges other than interest are included in the loan.
*The process uses a “soft” credit inquiry to determine whether a loan offer is available, which does not impact your credit score. If you continue with the application process online and accept a loan offer, or are referred to a branch and continue your application there, we will pull your credit report and credit score again using a “hard” credit inquiry. This “hard” credit inquiry may impact your credit score.