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How to spot a loan scam

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Posted at 8:02 AM, Dec 02, 2015
and last updated 2018-11-21 17:45:56-05
Many of us are looking for a little extra money during the holidays. But you have to be careful about where you go when you need a loan. Contact 13 speaks with a valley woman who learned her lesson the hard way.
 
"It made me feel stupid," says Ellen Schulman.
 
She recently fell victim to a scam. She applied for a loan online, and says her information was sent to a number of companies. It didn't take long for her to get this text message, telling her she was approved for up to $8,000.
 
"That's where they get you," says Ellen.
 
They eventually sent Ellen several checks, that she put in her bank account. But before getting the entire loan amount, she had to wire a processing fee to the loan company. In all, she sent them $2,900. But it turns out the checks were fake.
 
"Now I'm out all this money, and I got to pay the bank back," says Ellen.
 
Michele Johnson with the Financial Guidance Center says, you should never pay an up front fee for a loan. 
 
"And if somebody asks for that either by money order or wire, then you end it right there," says Michele.
 
When you apply for a loan online, keep in mind the company must be licensed in Nevada. And before you agree to any deal, make sure you completely understand the terms of the loan.
 
"You really need to step back and look at it from a very objective point of view and not be emotional, not let our true need at that point, drive what ultimately turns out to be a bad decision," says Michele.
 
So here's the Contact 13 bottom line. If you get a check in the mail from an unknown company or person, ask your bank to verify if it's legit. You could face charges for cashing or depositing a fake check. And if you have a problem with a loan company, file a complaint with Nevada's Financial Institutions Division.
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