How to Check If an Online Loan is Safe or Legitimate

Although you can find countless online loans on the market, there are many illegitimate companies and scammers offering fake loans. Here are some methods you can use to check if the loan company you’re interested in is legitimate.

Beware of Advance Payments

If a company guarantees they’ll give you a loan in exchange for upfront or “advance” fees, look elsewhere. This practice is illegal and companies that require advance payments are usually scammers.

A legitimate loan provider may charge an application or origination fee, but it will be clearly disclosed and taken from the amount you borrow. You’ll usually pay this fee after you get approved for a loan.

Search Loan Company Reviews and Licenses

There are plenty of ways you can search for a loan company’s reviews and licenses. Visit the Better Business Bureau (BBB) database to find out whether a company offers legitimate online loans.

You can also check verified review sites like TrustPilot to get an idea of how previous customers feel about it. A lack of accreditation on the BBB paired with many negative customer reviews is a sign that you should find another loan company.

Check the Loan Company’s Address

A legitimate loan company will have a single office or multiple branches. Plug the company’s address into Google Maps to make sure the lender has a physical location. The company is likely a scammer if its address does not exist or is only listed as a P.O. box. Scammers who offer online loans avoid physical addresses because they don’t want to be traced.

Search for the Loan Company’s Online Presence

If you find a loan company that piques your interest, check out their website. Their site should look professional and be free of typos. It’s also a good idea to check their social media outlets and read through any articles published about them.

Companies with legitimate cash loans have an online presence, even if they’re new. If you don’t find much about a particular loan company or its website seems sketchy, then the company is likely a scammer.

Contact Your State’s Attorney’s General

Your state’s attorney general works to inform the public of deceptive or unfair business practices like loan scams. You can contact them online or via phone to see if they have any record of the loan company you’re considering. The loan company is not legitimate if the attorney general does not have a record of them or reveals complaints from people the company has scammed in the past.

Advance America Offers Safe and Legitimate Loans

Advance America has maintained a history of safe lending practices since 1997. We are proud of our A+ Better Business Bureau rating, 5-star TrustPilot rating, and countless positive reviews on Google.


Our online loan applications come with advanced security and encryption to keep your personal data secure. If you’re in search of a legitimate payday loan, installment loan, line of credit, or title loan, Advance America can help you get the funds you need with a safe transaction.

The Advance America advantage

Since 1997, Advance America has helped millions of hardworking people with a variety of financial solutions including Payday Loans, Online Loans, Installment Loans, Title Loans and Personal Lines of Credit.

134+ million
loans issued
1,400+ stores
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23+ years
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