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Avoiding Dangerous or 'Predatory' Loans

Cash-Advance Loan

A cash advance loan is a small, short-term, high-interest loan that is offered in anticipation of the receipt of a future lump sum of cash or payment. Although a cash advance may be made in anticipation of future legal winnings, pensions, inheritances, insurance awards, alimony or real estate proceeds, the most common cash advance loans are Payday Loans and Tax Refund Anticipation Loans.

Payday Loan

Payday loans are illegal in New York State. It is a violation of New York State law to make payday loans in-person, by telephone, or over the Internet. It is also illegal for a debt collector to collect, or attempt to collect, on a payday loan in New York State.

What is a Payday Loan?
A payday loan is a relatively small, high-cost loan, typically due in two weeks and made with a borrower’s post-dated check or access to the borrower’s bank account as collateral.

Payday lending is illegal in New York for a number of reasons:

New Yorkers should steer clear of payday loans. If you are struggling to pay your bill:

To File a Complaint

Tax Refund Anticipation Loan

Some tax return preparers offer what they may call ‘instant’, ‘express’ or ‘fast money’ refunds. These refunds are actually loans borrowed against the amount of your anticipated refund. These loans often include extremely high interest rates and high fees. They must be repaid even if you don’t get your refund or it is smaller than anticipated. To avoid the temptation of getting a Refund Anticipation Loan:

Advance Fee Loan Scam

These scams involve a company claiming that they can guarantee you a loan if you pay them a processing fee, an application fee or pay for ‘insurance’ on the loan in advance. The company will advertise on the Internet, in the classified section of a newspaper or magazine, or in a locally posted flyer. They will sometimes use a legitimate company’s name or use a variant of a trusted name. They will sometimes ask you to call them at a "900" number, which will result in charges to your phone bill. They will usually ask to be paid via overnight or courier service or by wire, so that they can’t be traced. In order to avoid being taken in by this scam you should be aware that:

Government Grant and Loan Scam

This scam, like the advance fee loan scam, uses the internet, phone and newspaper to advertise. A company claims that they can guarantee a grant or loan from the government in exchange for a fee. Victims are instructed to send money to pay for ‘insurance’ on the promised grant or loan. They will usually ask that the money be sent via overnight or courier services or by wire, so that they don’t leave any trace of their identity or location. They then provide the victim with information that is available in any library or can be ordered directly from the government.

Bounce Protection Programs

Traditional overdraft protection services allows you to avoid bouncing checks by linking your checking account to your savings account or to a line of credit or credit card that you have with the bank.

With overdraft payment programs, also called ‘courtesy’ overdraft protection or bounce coverage, the bank pays any checks that you write, debit purchases or ATM withdrawals that are for more money than you have in your account. The decision to make this payment is at the sole discretion of the bank. The bank will charge a fee for each transaction and some banks will also charge a daily fee until the account has a positive balance. Some banks will charge loan fees, sometimes twice in a billing period. In order to avoid the imposition of additional charges, the customer must repay the bank the amount that it covered plus any accumulated fees.

High Cost Home Equity Loans

Home equity is the value of your home minus the money you still owe on the home. You can sometimes borrow money from a lender by using the equity in your home as security on a loan. Home equity lending fraud occurs when someone talks a homeowner into taking out a loan that they don’t need or that is bigger than they need, or has higher interest rates and higher fees and larger monthly payments than they can afford. If the homeowner falls behind on payments, the lender can take the home.

To avoid Home Equity Lending Fraud

Auto Title Loans

These are small, high-interest loans given using a car as collateral. If you default on the loan, you lose your car.

Rent-to-Own

When you rent furniture or appliances you will often end up paying much more than it would have cost you to buy that furniture all at once. If you miss a payment the company may repossess the items and you will forfeit any payments you may have already made.

Don’t deal with unlicensed lenders. Make sure a lender is licensed by the State of New York.

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