Steps to stay safe
There’s one golden rule – if something sounds too good to be true, it usually is. We wish it weren’t the case because we all want something for nothing and sometimes you want to believe the hype, but be like Spock and let logic rule; here are some top tips:
1) No such thing as a free meal – loans will always come with terms and conditions, a loan that promises you money without asking you any questions probably isn’t bona fide.
2) Beware upfront fees – genuine brokers (people that organise loans on your behalf) can charge you an upfront arrangement fee but if you don’t take up the loan or cancel the arrangement within six months then you should get a refund.
3) Be cautious of initial instalments – if you’re asked to pay the first month’s instalment, don’t expect the loan to come anytime soon – lots of scams involve asking you to part with cash and then leave you high and dry.
4) Check, check and check again – check credentials, call the lender to verify phone numbers and read customer reviews. Lenders and brokerage firms also need to be registered with the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and they should show their registration number on their website or paperwork, check this number against the FCA’s financial register
5) Scammers are smart, so be smarter – fraudsters are clever and hustling’s how they make money. Some will even use the name or address of genuine companies. If there’s any doubt in your mind, check addresses and if you’re on the phone, hang up and call the main telephone number of the company in question.
6) Be wary of disclosing details – if you’re not expecting to part with your details, then don’t.