If you're thinking about applying for an instant cash loan this holiday season, beware. Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott is warning of a scam to swindle you out of hundreds with the promise of instant money.
The advertisements look legitimate and appear in newspaper classified sections or on the internet.
There's a catch: they're not real. They ask for up-front fees, sometimes in the hundreds, that they say will go towards taxes or a processing fee.
"They're mainly targeting people who have bad credit and who are desperate for loans. Just buyer beare because you want to make sure that you're not getting into something that's going to have high interest and up front fees," said Cathy Jacobson, of the Consumer Credit Counseling Services in Amarillo.
Attorney General Abbott's warning says the scammers may be operating overseas and do not deliver on their promises for instant loans.
The best advice: "You basically have to be on your toes. You have to know what you're getting into before you do it," said Jacobson.
Jacobson also says you should deal with local lenders and not through the internet or over the phone.
Legitimate payday loan businesses, who typically give money instantly, say they will never ask you to pay before you get your loan.
"As soon as you come in, you get a loan. We give you a card and then you come in and pay us on your payday. There's no money whatsoever when you come in and get a loan," said Jacquelyn Criado, who works at a payday loan business in Amarillo.
If you're thinking of getting an instant cash loan and you want to make sure you're dealing with a legitimate business, check out these sites first: