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Have you ever pinched pennies until your next check? Is your paycheck spent before you even get it?

Listen, you aren’t the only one. Plenty of people have scrambled for dough and ate packaged noodles to get by until their bank account goes back to the positive.

It’s tough when money is tight and your credit is less than par – getting a regular loan takes time and good credit.

You may have been tempted to use a payday loan service. Payday loan services are perfect for people who need instant cash without dealing with a credit check.

They entice you with their shiny, brightly lit storefronts and promises for money regardless of your poor experience with other lenders.

Don’t be fooled – some of these services are known as payday loan scams. And they can potentially harm you if used.

If you’re in need of a paycheck advance, take a look at this guide to ensure you’re avoiding these scams:

Is the payday loan service legit?

You know a sketchy website when you see one – pop-ups that make you fear for your computer’s life, constant begging for money throughout the page, and an overall bad vibe.

This works exactly the same for loan companies.

When it comes to payday loans, always go with your gut instinct and make sure they’re a legit operation.

You can do this by making sure they have a license.

Any legitimate lender will have a license or certification – period. These licenses prove they’re regulated by the government and therefore have to follow rules.

A license also ensures that you’re protected – and when you’re playing with money, it’s best to be protected in case something goes awry.

If a lender doesn’t have a license, well, we can pretty much assume they don’t like playing by the rules.

That’s a huge problem; payday loan scams won’t have certification.

Don’t pay the payer

You’re in a pinch and need money.

You’re breaking your piggy banks to get any change you can get your hands on.

The last thing you need is another payout.

Watch out for these sneaky tactics payday loan scams use to get money from you:

Asking for money upfront

Believe it or not, some payday loan scams will ask you for a percentage up front in order to secure your cash.

People actually pay the service to give them money.

Don’t be one of those people. A legitimate lender will not ask you for any money up front.

Hiding fees in the fine print

Ah, yes, the fine print.

This isn’t an Apple privacy policy you’re signing – you actually have to read it.

Make sure you fully understand what you will be expected to pay back and at what percentage. Don’t let the thought of having money quick cloud your judgment when you read the contract.

Dependent on where you’re located, government laws prevent borrowers from having to pay over a set amount on the amount they’re borrowing – this prevents you from being tricked by predatory loan services. Make sure you’re aware of this number before you borrow.

Always keep in mind that the right lender isn’t going to fool you with trickery.

Do some stalking

Stalking your ex-boyfriend is frowned upon.

Stalking your payday loan service to make sure they are not one of the many payday loan scams is not.

You want to make sure no one else has been scammed previously. Chances are, if someone has been burnt by the service, you’ll read about it.

Do all the digging you can on the lender before signing your name on the dotted line. You’ll be able to find the payday loan scams with minimal research.

Here are a couple ways to find the dirt:


The Better Business Bureau is a tried and true test to check for payday loan scams. If someone has been scammed before, the company’s reviews will light up with complaints from those scorned.

Take a quick search through their reviews page to see if any complaints have been filed.

The BBB gives you a rundown of their rating system so you know what to look out for. The website will also provide you with reviews from previous users who have been scammed.


Google can also be your best friend in this situation. Type in the company’s name or phone number and if it’s a payday loan scam, you’ll see within the first several search results.

Seriously, people who have been wronged by payday loan scams will spread the news like wildfire.

If it is a legitimate loan specialist, there will be more good than bad results.

Can you call them collect?

Have you ever needed to get in contact with someone and realized you didn’t have their number?

If it was 1988 you probably checked the phone book, and if it was recent you probably just found their Facebook page.

The same policy applies for payday loan specialists. You should be able to find them and contact them.

No legitimate company works without a website in this day of technology.  Scour it for the contact page.

Can’t find one? You can bet it’s a payday loan scam.

What if you had an issue, or question to ask? If someone isn’t readily available online, via phone or in person – your best bet is to walk away.

Think it over: Avoid a payday loan scam

If you’re in a pinch, and payday seems like light years away, you’re probably searching like crazy for a way to make ends meet. Searching the internet for payday loan servicers may seem like a great idea.

But don’t lose your common sense over the idea of extra money until payday.

Think of all the important information you will be providing the lender: your social security number, your address, and your bank account information.

If you’re not careful, you’ll be serving that information on a silver platter – right into the wrong hands.

Instead of taking the risk of running into one of the payday loan scams, take a look at some other loan lenders that will be a more reliable option.

Let us know, have you been wronged by payday loan scams before? Drop a comment below and tell us about your experience!

Disclaimer: Please be aware that Cigno Loans’ articles do not replace advice from an accountant or financial advisor. All information provided is intended to be used as a guide only, as it does not take into account your personal financial situation or needs. If you require assistance, it is recommended that you consult a licensed financial or tax advisor.