Alright, you’re doing it. Your wallet, your budget and a few unexpected bills have led you to apply for a personal installment loan.
Now the burning question is, “From where?”
Before you pick the first lender that pops up, make sure you know what to look out for. Unfortunately, when an industry grows, so does the number of knock-offs and frauds. The loan services industry is no exception.
Scam artists have learned how to pose as lenders, taking advantage of innocent people who desperately need a loan. It can make applying for a loan a bit scary. But the good news is, personal loan scams have some very clear tells.
Do they have a phone number and/or physical address?
This is one of the more obvious signs. When researching, take a look at the lender’s contact information. No phone number or physical address? That’s a big red flag. If they do list an address, try looking it up. For example, the World Finance locations page lists the address of every branch (over 1200 of them) with a map for reference.
Having this information is important for two major reasons. One, the lender should be available to answer any questions. Two, if anything suspicious happens, you’ll know where to direct authorities.
Are they licensed to conduct business in your state?
State Law requires all lenders and brokers to register in the states where they conduct business. If not listed, the lender is probably a scam. If legitimate, a company would include the states they’re licensed in on their website. Look through the World Finance site and you’ll find we’re licensed to operate in 16 states.
How long have they been in business?
Sure, age is just a number, but experience is always a good sign. Knowing that a lender has a proven track record of honesty and customer success speaks volumes. Check out their “About Us” page, social media platforms, and customer testimonials to get the facts. On ours, for example, you’ll find that World Finance has been serving customers for over 50 years.
Is their website secure?
With data heists and identity theft on the rise, site security is more important than ever. Safety is in the details. Keep a look out for the padlock symbol on pages where you enter personal information, and an “s” (for “secure”) after “http” on the site address, e.g., https://www.loansbyworld.com. If you don’t see them, it might be fraudulent.
Does the loan offer seem unrealistic?
If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Typically, lenders will ask about your income, credit score, payment history or other important factors. If none of these things are mentioned or cared about, it’s another red flag.
Do they pressure you to act NOW?
Scam artists know that nothing drives decision-making more than urgency. If they claim an offer is expiring now or in the near future, you should definitely proceed with caution. A real lender would understand that a customer may need time to think things through.
Has anyone else used them?
When in doubt, phone a friend. An easy way to find a legitimate lender is to ask around. Try talking to a trusted friend or colleague who’s been through the lending process. Where did they go? What was their experience? And is there a referral program available? This will help narrow down your options. We get it. With so many things to look out for, it’s enough to make anyone think twice before applying for a loan. But you care, which is an important first step! As long as you ask questions, do your research, and trust your gut, spotting a fraud will become second nature.