RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — The pandemic has put some of us into a tight financial situation, and that’s a perfect opportunity for scammers to offer you a guaranteed loan with no credit check.

However, if you fall for the scheme, you don’t get a loan and you end up paying money to the scammers.

It starts with a text or email telling you you’re eligible for a loan and it’s just in time because the bills are piling up.

“A lot of these scammers are using the names of legitimate business,” says Alyssa Parker of the Better Business Bureau of Eastern N.C. “It seems like it’s on the up and up, but it’s not.”

Normally, when you apply for a loan, there are credit checks, but these scammers don’t do that. That’s the hook used to help snag you.

“That’s one of the selling points,” said Parker. “No legitimate lender is going to provide you with a loan without a credit check.”

The criminals say they’ll send the loan money right to your bank account and you can access it right away, but no money ever gets there.

Those scammers are after your cash and explain it as a so-called “fee.”

“They say, ‘you need to provide insurance money for this loan’,” said Parker.

However, the “loan” check they deposit into your bank account bounces and you’re out the money you paid for in the so-called insurance.

Other ways to tell it’s a loan scam include:

  • You’re pressured to act immediately
  • They promise you guaranteed approval
  • The website they use isn’t secure. (It has no “lock” icon)

Because these scammers are impersonating legitimate lenders, you need to take extra steps to protect yourself.

Parker says one way to verify the legitimacy of the person talking to you is to reach out to the company you think you are doing business with and ask if the person really works there.

Whatever you do, she says, don’t rely on a simple Google search — especially if it’s an unfamiliar company. Fake websites and ads directing you to them can be easily placed in the search results.

Also, Parker says to check the origin of the email or text. Check the website itself — does it have a dot com address?

Look for complaints about the company on official government websites and your state attorney general’s office as well as with the BBB.

Be wary of unsolicited loan offers.

If you get one of them, take a step back and do your research first before moving forward.