Avoid Payday Loan Scammers This Holiday Season
While the holiday season is a time to celebrate with loved ones, many scammers use the season to target consumers shopping for gifts for their friends and family. These scammers pose as legitimate, respected business to con victims out of their money by offering loans through the internet, email, and over the phone. They often claim that consumers have been pre-approved for a loan, and then ask them to purchase a prepaid debit card or wire money as a “processing fee” or “good faith deposit.”
Advance America urges consumers to identify the warning signs of financial fraud and ways to avoid payday loan scams this holiday season and throughout the year. If you suspect you’re being contacted by a financial scammer claiming to represent Advance America, please call 1-888-310-4238.
Recognize Fraudulent Loan Offers
You should be suspicious that a loan offer is fraudulent if:
- The individual claims that you have been pre-approved for a loan and then requires you to purchase a prepaid debit card or wire money as a “processing fee” or “good faith deposit.”
- The individual requests that you send money up front via a wire transfer or money card such as Green Dot cards. With legitimate loan offers, you should not have to give money in order to get money.
- The individual requests to get your personal or financial information. You should always be cautious when volunteering any personal or financial information over the phone or internet. Never provide payment information that you did not initiate. If you are uncomfortable with a phone call that was not initiated by you, hang up or ask for the purpose of the call. Then contact the company using legitimate sources such as contact phone numbers found on the company’s website.
Protecting Yourself From Scammers
When it comes to keeping your personal and financial information safe, it’s important to be proactive. Follow these tips to help protect yourself from fraud and identity theft.
- Never give personal information such as your Social Security Number or bank account information online or over the phone without verifying that you are working with a legitimate lender or bill collector. To verify, call the establishment back using a known number, such as the number listed on your statement or on the back of your credit/debit card.
- Always be suspicious of any email with urgent requests for personal financial information. If an email demands immediate action or makes upsetting or exciting false statements, it’s likely a scam.
- Verify company licenses when applying for a loan online. Legitimate lenders will display state licenses on their websites to verify that they are full-service, licensed lenders complying with state and federal laws.
- Never wire money or provide prepaid debit card information to a lender claiming you have been pre-approved for a loan and must make an initial payment as a “show of good faith.”
- Keep anti-virus, anti-malware, and spam email protection software up to date on all your computing devices.
- Maintain a record of all outstanding debt, and include lender contact information.
- Regularly check your bank, credit and debit card statements to ensure there are no unauthorized transactions.
- If someone approaches you claiming you owe them debt, demand they provide written proof of the debt as the law requires.
- If you suspect you are being scammed, report it to the local law enforcement and to the lender that the scammer claims to represent. Advance America customers can call 1-888-310-4238.