Legitimate Lenders 101: And how to spot the fraudulent ones.
We know in times of economic uncertainty a loan can help fill in the gaps for both essential and unexpected expenses. Whether it’s a broken windshield or a fridge that’s looking a little empty, we’re a lender you can trust to help you get back to the good ahead. Unfortunately, there are others out there who aren’t so trustworthy. So, we’re here with some tips for how to spot a scam.
Who Called Who?
Reputable lenders will never call or email you with an offer first. If you’ve filled out a contact form or called their office before, they will return your calls, but a credible lender will never contact you out of the blue. If you do call them, be sure to gauge their level of credibility. Do they answer the phone with the name of the business? Are they acting professionally? Ask yourself these questions and trust your gut.
Check. Then Check Again.
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. If you do find their information, don’t just take their website’s word for it. Verify their phone number and address on Google to be sure.
Having this information is important for two major reasons. One, the lender should be available to answer any and all questions. Two, if anything suspicious happens, you’ll know where to direct authorities.
Look for a State License
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. If you’re in doubt, you can check with your state Attorney General or your state’s department of financial institutions.
The Older, the Wiser.
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. To be sure you’re sure, you can verify their information with the Better Business Bureau.
Look for the Lock.
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 the lock symbol, it might be fraudulent.
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.
Don’t Give into Peer Pressure.
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?
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? This will help narrow down your options and identify real lenders.
We get it. With so many red flags to look out for, it’s enough to make anyone think twice before applying for a loan. As long as you ask questions, do your research, and trust your gut, spotting a fraud will become second nature. If you think you have identified a fraudulent lender, be sure to reach out to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and your local law enforcement. After all, everyone deserves to get back to the good things in life — with a loan that is actually real.
Interested in learning more about getting a loan? We’re still open and ready to help. You can also learn more financial tips and explore our other blogs here. We’re sharing our wisdom on everything from staycations to tax filing.