A cash advance scam — aka, an advance fee scam — asks for money upfront in order to get a loan or receive some other benefit. 

Ways to Spot a Cash Advance or Other Loan Scam


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Upfront Fees

If you apply for a loan or a job, or you have been told you have won a prize, but the company requires you to pay a fee upfront to receive the benefit promised, stop dealing with them immediately. It’s a scam in progress. Think about it: If you need money for a loan, you don’t have money to pay the fee. 

Good, legitimate lenders know this. So they won’t require any fees on your loan until after they have given it to you. The same concept applies to work from home or prize scams – why should you have to pay in order to work for someone else, or pay to receive a prize? And did you even really apply to get the job or win the prize?

No Credit Check

To lure in victims, these loan scams will often promise “No credit check required!” or “Bad credit OK!” This is a big sign of a suspicious lender. Proceed with much caution. 

Most lenders will want to look into your credit before issuing a loan — even if they specialize in customers with no or poor credit histories. 

Phone Calls

If you get a loan offer on the phone, it’s a scam. Hang up the phone. And never give personal information over the phone. Honest lenders don’t make phone solicitations. 

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