Are Online Loan Scams Really A Thing?
Unfortunately, yes: online loan scams are perfectly possible and happen everyday. You look for a loan through the links Google provided, you click on what looks like the best website, and then you proceed with your loan request. Nothing wrong, right? That’s normally true, but sometimes greed or need may make things go pear shaped.
You could easily fall into a scammer’s trap if you need a fast, big loan, and they promise not only that, but also immediate approval without even requesting a look at your credit history. Their only request is the payment of a small upfront fee, that will seem ridiculous if compared to what they offer.
All is good, until you ask them for your well-earned loan and no one answers. You lost your money and did not get your loan. How could you have known this was going to happen?
How Can You Know You’re Being Scammed?
If you are going to ask online for a loan, make sure you check for these signs of a scam in the making:
- The alleged company happily ignores your payment or credit history.
- They ask for a prepaid debit card, which is most peculiar given that you should not need money in order to ask for money.
- If their website is not safe (that is to say, beginning with “https”), your benefactor is most probably a fraudster.
- The provider of the service is not registered in your state (this is a Federal Trade Commission requirement in the US).
- Similarly, the company has neither a physical address nor a direct phone line.
- They insist on urgency and keep saying that their offer only lasts for a few hours.
Any of these signs should trigger a warning in your head. If they are all present, run away and report the website to the police!
Scams And Beyond
Something really similar to online loan scams is phishing (whose etimology is shrouded in mystery). This deceitful technique consists in obtaining sensitive information, such as passwords and credit data, using an email as bait. You receive an e-mail that looks just like the ones your bank sends, you click on the provided link to log in, and Bob’s your uncle.
Only problem is that was not your bank, but an online robber! By clicking on that link you gave them free access to your account. Block it immediately and call the police!
Infamous Scams Of The Past
Scams were there well before the invention of the Internet, of course. Let’s remember two of the greates, most infamous ones!
The first scam is John Law’s Machiavellian plan to sell Louisiana to investors in 1719.
He was so good in convincing the French government and other investors that it was much more than a swamp, that they all fell for this! His company’s shares skyrocketed and the trick was only discovered much later.
The second scam is instead the Eiffel Tower sale by one Victor Lustig in 1925. Apparently it was perfectly reasonable to sell it as scrap metal, and so this criminal genius got two dealers to pay a huge sum for… nothing.