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You know it's wrong, but you can't stop yourself. You've been eyeing those internet business loan offers with piqued interest lately, positive that a couple of the professional-looking sites must be legit. Watch out: Looks can be deceiving. Websites that appear to be for established financial institutions--complete with flashy graphics and photos--may promise a quick application process and easy loan approvals only to disappear a few weeks later.
In April, the Better Business Bureau reported a spike in the number of complaints about advance-fee loan scams. Many of the hundreds of phony web-based lending organizations that the BBB has received complaints about this year have official-sounding names, such as Central Credit Financial or Corporate Bankers of America. Their websites promise easy business or consumer loans, but often require an upfront fee to process the loan application, which could be as high as a whopping $26,000, says Alison Preszler, media relations manager with the BBB. Customers report that the "banks" then vanish, taking their fees with them.
So how can you avoid bogus lenders online? Start here: