Protect Yourself from Personal Loan Fraud
Posted October 12th, 2009
by PersonalLoans.org Staff
Personal loans are a great way to consolidate bills or just get some extra cash to cover an unforeseen expense. However, there are unfortunately malicious individuals out there who would try to take advantage of you. Personal loan fraud is frighteningly common, and amounts to millions of dollars in losses every year.
Fortunately, there are some things you can do to protect yourself from personal loan fraud:
- Don’t enter into a personal loan that was initiated by an unsolicited phone call, letter or email. If you didn’t seek out the lender, don’t do business with them.
- Never give personal information, such as your social security number, bank account number or other information unless you’re dealing with a trusted lender with whom you’ve initiated contact.
- Recognize that your risk of getting scammed is higher online. The anonymity of the Internet makes it easier for criminals to take advantage of you.
- You also need to recognize that just because a business has a storefront doesn’t mean they’re legitimate. If a lender has been in business just for a few weeks, it’s possible they will scam as many people as they can and then disappear, almost without a trace.
- Don’t put any money up front. If a loan asks for an application fee, processing fee or insurance fee before you get a loan disbursement, watch out. It is extremely rare for a legitimate lender to ask for these things in the case of a personal loan.
- If the lender asks you to wire or send money to somewhere else via Western Union or MoneyGram, watch out. This is especially true if they ask you to send the money overseas.
- Some scammers may try to double dip. After you’ve fallen for the trick the first time, they may come back and ask for a second payment to complete the loan process. Don’t fall for it again.
- The best way to avoid personal loan scams is to deal with established lenders. Your local credit union or bank, for example, may extend personal loans. The same goes with other companies you’re already doing business with.
If you think you’ve been scammed, you need to report it. You need to file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission. You can contact the FBI, as well as your local police department. You can also file a complaint with the credit bureaus, as well. You may even want to consider talking to an attorney about your legal options.