How to spot (and avoid) loan scams

If it sounds too good to be true, you might want to be careful

11 August 2020|3 minute read

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Some dishonest companies and people will take advantage of those trying to get a loan. Check out our tips below on how to spot loan scam and what to do if you suspect a scammer might be targeting you.

How can you identify a loan scammer?

It can be surprisingly easy for scammers to find potential victims. Scammers contact targets via phone, email, SMS or social media. They may even be someone you know or have been introduced to you by a contact.

Scammers can also obtain your details after you have provided your information to a legitimate loan comparison website. In short, they could be (or pretend to be) anyone.

What does a loan scam look like?

Loan scams come in all shapes and sizes. It might be an offer that does not exist. Someone may claim to represent a reputable company when they don’t. Or ask you to do something that may seem suspicious in order to transfer funds, such as mailing a check. Basically, if it’s a scam, the money you will be asked for will go to the scammer not towards any loan provided.

Scammers might promise quick returns, tax-free benefits, offer an opportunity with little risk, or claim to have insider information. They will likely use high-pressure sales tactics to rush you into making a big and quick decision.

Loan scam red flags

Here are a few warning signs that an offer may not be legitimate or legal.

  • The scammer claims to be a professional broker or portfolio manager, but they don’t have an Australian Financial Services (AFS) licence or say they do not need one.
  • They call you repeatedly for lengthy conversations or email you a lot.
  • They pressure you to make quick decisions.
  • They say they’re associated with a reputable organisation or name, but you can’t find proof.
  • Their email domain name has spelling mistakes or odd numbers.
  • They show you seemingly professionally designed marketing brochures and documents, but they aren’t registered with ASIC.

What to do if you suspect someone is trying to scam you

All legitimate lenders, by law, must hold a credit licence from ASIC. You can check if a lender is licensed on ASIC's website. If they don't have a licence, don't exchange any information with them and you can report them to ASIC.

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