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Scammers are pretending to be money lenders – Red flags to watch for

Scam alert! If you are thinking, really, again? You aren’t alone. It appears every time we turn our heads. There is another scam looking to steal your money. Tap or click here for details on eight of the biggest recent scams you need to watch out for.

Unfortunately, we are here to tell you about another scam that’s threatening your bank accounts. With the pandemic affecting our jobs and livelihoods, those looking for a financial reprieve might be tempted to take out a loan.

Well, before you apply for a loan, pay attention to who is offering it. If it seems too good to be true. It probably is. Here’s how to avoid sneaky scammers pretending to be lenders.

Here’s the backstory

The Better Business Bureau is warning about a clever new scheme making the rounds. Scammers are pretending to be legitimate loan providers in an attempt to rip you off.

It starts simple. The fraudulent loan provider emails you an offer for a quick loan. Even better, there are no upfront fees. After a quick online search to make sure the company is real, you find that the name and contact information matches a legitimate company, so you proceed with the loan. 

Next, you apply and are approved for your loan. Once you give the loan company your checking account information, they deposit the funds via check and then demand you buy insurance for the loan before the check clears.

Everything seems fine until a few days later when you get a call from your bank saying the check has bounced. So now you are out of the money you paid to insure the loan, and the loan funds are not in your bank account. Just like that, you’ve been scammed.

How to avoid lending scams

Scams involving your bank account are terrifying. That’s why you need to take steps to protect your accounts. Here are some suggestions from BBB to avoid them:

  • Avoid unsolicited loan offers. Scammers use offers of quick cash to lure you in–don’t fall for it. Whether they contact you by phone, email or text or send loan offers by mail, approach all unsolicited offers for money with caution. 
  • Expect a credit check. These scams often prey on people who may not easily qualify for a loan. No legitimate lender will provide you with a loan without performing a credit check. 
  • Ensure the business contact information matches the email sender information. Brand identifiers can easily be copied and included in the body of an email, so the most important information for a consumer to verify is the email address of the sender. The domain for the email address typically matches the domain of the official website and should be free of random letters or numbers. 
  • Research loan providers before accepting an offer. When doing business with an unfamiliar company, don’t just verify they’re legitimate by searching their name online because you could be missing surprising information. View ratings and reviews to see what other people are saying, and check for a BBB business profile.

If you need a loan from a legitimate lender, you can connect with some in your area by visiting BBB.org/search. If you receive one of these scam loan emails, report them to BBB.org/ScamTracker

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