Dangers of Applying Online for a Loan

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Dangers of Applying Online for a Loan
There are many legitimate loan companies and lenders that use online applications on their website. Unfortunately there are also a large number of scam artists who have websites that will appear completely legitimate but are not. You want to make sure you do a little extra homework and make sure you are applying for a loan through a legitimate company.


Applying for an Online Loan – Legitimate Companies
There are many legitimate companies that have online loan applications. You first need to make sure that they are in fact a legitimate loan company.

  1. Check the Better Business Bureau website and do some online research to make sure the company is legitimate.
  2. Next, Google the company name with the word,"scam" or "fraud". Example: "XYZ mortgage company scam"
    This we see if other people have had bad experiences with the company.
  3. Finally, Google map the company address. See if it is a real business address... also if you can do a Google street view you can see the front of the business. Is it a house, garage... or is it a legitimate business with their name on a sign out front.
After you have determined that the company is in fact legitimate you want to thoroughly check out their website. See if they have a privacy policy visibly displayed on the website and read it carefully. It is important to also be certain that the application is on a secure server. The way to check if it is a secure server is to look at the URL at the top of the window. Make sure that the URL starts with https and not http. Https indicates that it is a secure server using encryption technology.
If you still have concerns you should ask the company if they offer an off-line application process.

Apply for an Online Loan – Avoiding the Scammers
Though there are many scammers out there, you can avoid them by being extra careful with online companies. First and foremost, make sure you are on the right website. Many scam artists pretend to be legitimate companies by using sub-domains rather than main domains. Make sure the main domain is from the company you are trying to do business with.
Here’s how you can tell the difference. Every URL includes a main domain. Some URLs contain a sub-domain. The main domain appears immediately before the .com, .net, .org, etc. So, an example is: http://www.maindomain.com. A sub-domian appears right after the http:// (or http://www) and before the period that starts the main domain. It would look like http://www.sub.maindomain.com.
You should by and large avoid sites that have the company name in a sub-domain rather than in the main domain. It is a common tactic of scammers.

Online Loan Applications – Bottom Line
The bottom line is that you need to be careful if applying for a mortgage or home loan online. You can do it safely but you will need to make sure you use common sense and your best judgment. Follow the guidelines above and if you have any uncertainty you can contact the lender about alternative ways of applying for a loan.

This article is intended for general information. Always seek sound financial and legal advice before making any financial decision.

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