Here's what you need to know to avoid getting scammed by online loan offers that look legit, but are really just clever cons.
According to credit.com, look for signs that the company's Internet site is secure: "https" in the url, and a security certificate from a company like Verisign are examples of online security measures.
In a search engine, type the name of the company and the word "complaints" or "scam" to see what pops up. A few complaints here and there may be one thing. Lots of them are a red flag. You can do the same kind of search with the firm's phone number.
Check out the domain name of the website on the "Whois" database to find out when the website was started and by whom. If it's a new site, be extra cautious and do more digging to find out if it's legit.
Research the address of the firm using Google Maps. If you see an empty lot, a residential neighborhood, a postal box type location, or something else that doesn't look right, pass up the "opportunity" to apply.
And remember, most of these companies use a U.S. address to make them look legit, but in fact are based overseas.
Don't pay up front. Don't let one of these outfits talk you into giving them cash before you get the loan.
And remember that Western Union is the favorite pick for these scammers to steal from you.