RALEIGH, NC (WNCN) – The pandemic has put some of us in dire financial straits, and this is a perfect opportunity for scammers to offer you a secured loan without a credit check.

However, if you fall for the trap, you don’t get a loan and end up paying the crooks money.

It starts with a text or email letting you know you’re eligible for a loan and it’s just in time because the bills are piling up.

“A lot of these scammers are using legitimate business names,” says Alyssa Parker of the Better Business Bureau of Eastern NC. “It looks like it’s increasing, but it’s not.”

Normally when you apply for a loan there are credit checks but these scammers don’t. This is the hook used to help you hang on.

“It’s one of the selling points,” Parker said. “No legitimate lender will give you a loan without a credit check. “

The criminals say they will send the loan money straight to your bank account and you can access it immediately, but no money ever gets there.

These scammers go after your money and explain it as so-called “fees”.

“They say, ‘you have to provide insurance money for this loan,’” Parker said.

However, the “loan” check they deposit in your bank account bounces back and you lose the money you paid in so-called insurance.

Here are some other ways to say this is a loan scam:

  • You are obligated to act immediately
  • They promise you guaranteed approval
  • The website they are using is not secure. (It does not have a “padlock” icon)

Since these scammers masquerade as legitimate lenders, you need to take extra steps to protect yourself.

Parker says one way to verify the legitimacy of the person talking to you is to contact the company you are thinking of doing business with and ask if the person really works there.

Whatever you do, she says, don’t rely on a simple Google search, especially if it’s an unknown company. Fake websites and the advertisements that direct you to them can easily be placed in search results.

Additionally, Parker says to verify the origin of the email or text. Check the website itself: does it have a dot com address?

Look for complaints about the company on official government websites and your state’s attorney general’s office as well as with the BBB.

Beware of unsolicited loan offers.

If you do get one, take a step back and do your research first before moving forward.

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