How to Protect Yourself from Online Scams and Swindles

Published on: 2/11/2014. Revised on: 8/21/2014.

It is more important than ever for consumers to be savvy and protect themselves. Lending Club offers the following tips to help avoid scams.

At Lending Club, we pride ourselves on providing a safe, transparent online lending experience. Lending Club will never ask you in advance to remit payment for any type of insurance, application fee or fee to obtain a loan. You can apply for a loan for free at

Unfortunately, there are scam artists seeking to take advantage of people who are looking for a loan. As a prospective borrower, it’s important for you to know how to identify signs that you may not be working with a legitimate lender:

  • Remember that it is very uncommon for a lender to guarantee that you will receive a loan before you apply, or before they have checked out your credit status, especially if you have bad credit or no credit history at all.
  • Don’t pay money for the “promise” of a loan. Ignore any advertisement or hang up on any cold caller who “guarantees” a loan in exchange for a fee paid in advance.
  • Beware of anyone who pressures you to “act immediately” by sending money or personal information.
  • Never send money, whether by pre-paid debit card, wire or money orders prior to receiving the actual proceeds of the loan. Most lenders won’t ask you to send funds in advance, and you will have little to no recourse through these methods.
  • If you are not absolutely sure who you are dealing with, get the company’s contact information in the phone book or from directory assistance, and call them to make sure you’re dealing with the company you think you’re dealing with. And if they have an online presence, check there too. In the past, some scam artists have pretended to be the Better Business Bureau or another legitimate organization; on- or offline, you should always make sure you are dealing with a reputable party before you give out sensitive financial information.
  • Protect yourself by making sure the website where you apply is secure – look for the “s” in

Other “red flags” that may signal a scam include:

    • The advertisement or email response to you contains multiple misspellings and grammatical errors
    • The email addresses you as Dear Sir/Madam
    • The “lender” uses a free email service such as Gmail, Yahoo, or Hotmail
    • Receiving payment is the lender’s first priority – via Cashier’s Check, FEDEX, Western Union, etc. Unscrupulous companies will often ask for money up front, or attempt commit identity theft by requesting personal information under the guise of providing a loan; legitimate lenders won’t.

Remember, if it seems too good to be true – it probably is. Visit our Privacy & Safety page to learn more.

If you do encounter fraud involving an offer of a Lending Club loan, please let us know at

The Federal Trade Commission offers helpful tips to help you protect yourself from the Advanced-Fee Loan Swindle.

Fraud can also be reported to your local law enforcement authority, to the Federal Trade Commission, and to the Internet Crime Complaint Center.

FTC toll free hotline: 877-FTC-HELP (877-382-4357) or

Internet Crime Complaint Center

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