Advance America Provides Tips for Recognizing Small-Dollar Loan Scams This Holiday Season

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Advance America Provides Tips for Recognizing Small-Dollar Loan Scams This Holiday Season


SPARTANBURG, S.C., Dec. 5, 2019 /PRNewswire/ — With the holiday season come family gatherings, traditions, and expenses. Whether you’re planning on giving gifts to family and friends, or preparing for get-togethers or other seasonal festivities, the holidays stretch every budget. Advance America offers a variety of credit products and services that can help consumers bridge the gap in their finances during the busiest time of year.

But consumers borrowing for the holidays should take extra precautions to guard against unregulated lenders and scammers.


“Sometimes people need a small-dollar loan from a regulated consumer lender like Advance America to help with extra expenses during the holiday season,” said Jamie Fulmer, Senior Vice President of Public Affairs for Advance America. “Unfortunately, too many Americans will fall victim to the illegal lenders and scammers that flood the marketplace offering too-good-to-be true services, and we want to make sure they are prepared to identify the signs of a scam.”

As a regulated consumer lender, nearly every aspect of Advance America’s business is regulated by four federal regulators, 10 federal laws, 31 state agencies and more than 50 state laws. The company is committed to responsible lending and transparency, fully disclosing all terms and fees, to ensure consumers can be successful borrowers.

In many cases, unregulated loans come with higher fees, no consumer protections, and little recourse for the consumer. Often they are headquartered outside of the U.S. and operate exclusively online. The terms and fees of these loans may be unclear, and contact information or company details may be missing. Consumers that reside in states without a regulated small-dollar lending market are particularly vulnerable to fraudulent and illegal operators.

Loan scammers often use the reputation of legitimate, respected businesses to con victims out of their money. Consumers should be suspicious about requests for personal information by email, or demands for money to be wired or prepaid debit card information provided, particularly if the lender claims a loan has been pre-approved.

Warning Signs and Red Flags

To help consumers identify the warning signs of illegal lenders and loan scams this holiday season and all year round, Advance America urges consumers to take steps to protect themselves:

  • Never give personal information such as your Social Security number or bank account information online or over the phone without verifying that you are working with a legitimate lender or bill collector.
  • Verify company licenses when applying for a loan online. Legitimate lenders will display their licenses on their websites to verify they are fully licensed in your state and comply with state and federal laws.
  • Be suspicious of any email with urgent requests for personal financial information. If an email makes upsetting or exciting false statements, it’s likely a scam.
  • Never wire money or provide prepaid debit or gift card information to a lender claiming you have been pre-approved for a loan and must make an initial payment as a “show of good faith.” Legitimate lenders do not offer approvals prior to application and do not require good faith deposits.
  • Keep anti-virus, anti-malware, and spam email protection software up to date on all your computers and electronic devices.
  • Maintain a record of all outstanding debt, and keep your lenders’ contact information in one place.
  • Regularly check your bank, credit and debit card statements to ensure there are no unauthorized transactions. Likewise, check your credit report (using Equifax, Experian, or TransUnion) every four months on a rotating basis; credit reports are often one of the first places where signs of identity theft or fraud will appear.
  • If someone claims you owe them a debt, demand they provide written proof of the debt as required by law – especially if it’s for a charge you don’t recognize. Federal law strictly regulates how real bill collectors and loan agents can do business. If someone claims you will face criminal prosecution unless you immediately wire money, it’s almost certainly a scam.