What happens when you don’t have enough money in the bank to cover your bills? How do you respond when you have an unexpected medical expense? If you’re short on cash, an online payday loan might seem like the answer. Be careful, though. While many online payday-loan sites are legitimate, consumers have been scammed by criminals pretending to offer payday loans that never materialize. If you are considering taking out a payday loan online, watch out for the following red flags before you go any further.
Paying money to get money
Most legitimate short-term lenders charge a substantial fee for their services, but that fee is integrated into the repayment plan. If a lender ever asks you to pay a fee up front to get a loan, walk away. This is one of the most common forms of payday-loan scam.
Excessive requests for personal information
Even if you don’t complete your application, keystroke logging can record any information that you type onto a website. Stop right away if something doesn’t feel right or any information you are being asked for seems unusual. Be especially careful about giving out banking information to strangers.
Brick-and-mortar details that don’t check out
Savvy criminals list addresses and phone numbers on their sites to give the illusion that they are running real businesses. Don’t take their word for it, though. Even if a website looks professional, it never hurts to check it out. The few minutes you spend verifying this information could save you hundreds or thousands of dollars in the long run.
Just as there are some red flags for bad payday-loan sites, there are also a few green lights to be aware of for legitimate sites. The following are good indications that a site is a real business and not a scam. Still, proceed with caution and don’t be afraid to ask questions if something doesn’t feel right.
Good online reviews
Find out what other consumers are saying about payday-loan sites by visiting message boards and social media sites to research reviews. A lot of negative reviews are a sure sign to stay away.
A secure website
Https encryption is essential for any site that wants to ensure the security of its customers’ information. If the payday-loan website doesn’t begin with https, it is not worth the risk.
Clearly stated terms
The exact terms of the loan you’re taking out should be easy to find and clearly stated. A legitimate financial company wants its customers to know what they are agreeing to.
Online payday loans can be intimidating if you don’t know what to look out for or what you want, so sit down and consider the amount of debt you can handle and the terms you are looking for before you even begin your search. Once you have that figured out, follow the advice in this article to keep your money and information safe and ensure the best payday-loan experience possible. There are plenty of legitimate payday-loan sites out there, so don’t be afraid to seek some short-term help if you find yourself in a financial bind.