Warning: Late repayment can cause you serious money problems. For help, go to moneyadviceservice.org.uk
Warning: Late repayment can cause you serious money problems. For help, go to moneyadviceservice.org.uk

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Asked to make a payment upfront for a loan?

How can I tell if they are a legitimate loan company?

It is very easy to answer this with "don't" - but it's not quite that simple.
 
There are legitimate loan brokers out there that will charge you an upfront loan brokerage fee to help you find a loan. Normally this fee will range between £30-£70. Each broker varies but some will have a condition that if they cannot find you a loan they will refund the fee - apart from £5 of it. It is definitely worth reading the small print about this. Anyway, this article is NOT about these brokers.
 
This article is about call centres that call you telling you they are legitimate loan company - these call centres will cold call you. They will give you an excellent description about who they are and how they are real - but all they are doing is pretending to be a legitimate UK loan company.
 
Many of these fraudsters phone from overseas - but do not think you can spot them because they phone from an overseas telephone number. They are able to call from a UK line because it's very easy to buy a UK line from anywhere in the world.

Are there any other additional warning signs?

Let's assume that you have been convinced this cold call you have received is from a real loan company and they can offer you the loan that will help you. What next? Well, you are probably going to be asked to do one of the following:
 
1. "Pay a months payment up front" (to prove credit worthiness or to show you have some money in your account)
2. "Pay the tax on the loan" (never understood what this even means - but they use this trick)
3. "We've discovered you have bad credit so you need to pay a broker fee first" (another made up con trick)
 
This is how these fraudsters make their money - get a fee from you and then tell you that you cannot have a loan anyway. From their perspective it is very simple. They will want you to pay the fee either via Western Union (or similar companies) or into a random persons name at your local bank. A very odd way of paying a fee to a supposed legitimate company do you not think? 
 
Our final word on this is this - if you're cold called for a loan do not pay any money to that company at all. If they can offer you a loan then they will make their money from interest payments - not fees.

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