It used to be that, in order to apply for a loan, you had to visit a bank or other lending institution and meet with someone. Now, thanks to the Internet there are options available for those who are home bound or who need money quickly. Online personal loans have become very popular in the last few years and more and more people are turning to them in times of financial distress.
The problem with these types of personal loans isn't necessarily high interest rates or fees, it's really just the scam artists out there posing as online-based lenders instead of legitimate lenders. So how can you tell who might actually be willing to loan you money and who is out to steal your personal and bank information? Here are 5 tips to help.
1. Make sure that that the lender has a physical address. Post office boxes do not count. Anybody can open a post office box. A legitimate loan company will have a physical address that you can easily verify.
2. Check for a phone number. When you call the number listed on the website pay attention to the voice on the other end of the line. The less professional they sound, the more likely they are to be part of a scam. It's also helpful to do a quick check on the phone number. A simple Google search will reveal any scams attached to the same number as well as warnings from other companies.
3. In addition to a business phone number, you want a separate phone number for customer service calls. This number should be toll free. Any number that costs you long distance charges probably doesn't belong to a legitimate company, though this is not always the case.
4. Check into the business registry of the town your potential online lender is based in. Legitimate businesses are registered with their cities and counties. If you can't find any business registrations for the lender, do not do business with them!
5. Do a check with the Better Business Bureau. Positive and negative information is reported to the Better Business Bureau. See if the company offering you a loan has a listing within the bureau and see what other people have said about the company. You might also do a Google search on the business name to see if anybody has written any reviews about the company.
It is vitally important that you do a lot of research when it comes to obtaining any online loan. Never just turn over your personal information to a company that offers you money. While there are legitimate online lenders, there are also quite a few scam artists out there who want to steal your identity and take off with your bank balances. Online personal loans often seem to be too good to be true and sometimes, this is exactly the case. By being careful and taking the time to check things out you can be assured you won't find the wrong one.
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