Like many people these days, you may be trying hard to do the right thing and pay your bills, but find that you are struggling and your debt load keeps growing. You know that one missed payment will bring your house of cards crashing down and you don’t want that. In conjunction with this, perhaps you have noticed various offers for loans out there and thought to yourself, this could be a way out.
Be careful, though. In these economic times, financial predators are lurking around every corner and they want your hard-earned cash. The trick is learning how to distinguish scam operators from legitimate loan companies and lenders.
Research Is Key
Protecting yourself from loan scams starts with doing thorough research. Thankfully, investigating loan companies and lenders is easy in today’s Internet age. Look online for scam alerts or warnings from the Better Business Bureau. Check consumer-review websites such as Yelp.com and Angieslist.com. Also, social media is dynamite when it comes to quickly learning a company’s reputation and standing, but be sure to not rely solely on it.
Avoid Those Asking for Upfront Money
Loan companies and lenders that are unethical will ask you to pay money to them up front. When someone’s sales pitch mentions upfront payment, know that the potential for a scam is high. Legitimate operators in good standing will not be asking for money to be paid in advance of services being rendered. Anyone who asks for such payment does not have your best interests at heart and absolutely should be avoided.
Watch Out for Fees
Loan companies and lenders are in business to make money off your need for assistance. However, even though it must be understood that these entities are seeking profit, you should watch out for ones that try to camouflage fees and additional costs. These charges could take the form of such things as monthly servicing fees or high interest rates on any money borrowed. Loan companies and lenders that hide charges will often continue piling them on until they end up becoming your main creditor, completely undermining your need for their services. Also, be sure to avoid loan services that demand or require “startup” fees or “processing” fees.
Get Out the Magnifying Glass
This goes without saying, but you should always read the fine print in any contract a lender presents to you and make sure you understand it. Lenders who try to rush you through a contract usually have something to hide or a quota to fill. Regardless of their reason, it is not in your best interest to sign a contract before you know exactly what is in it. Sneaky lenders bury various charges in fine print and try to seal the deal before you have the opportunity to thoroughly review their documents.
It Is Within Your Power to Become Debt Free
Climbing out of debt is a worthy endeavor to undertake and can be done with diligence and concerted effort on your part. Take your time and conduct the necessary research so you can avoid loan companies and lenders that are perpetrating scams. After all, this is your money and your credit reputation that we are talking about, and you should guard them fiercely.