PHOENIX - If you're tight on money after splurging on the holidays, you are not alone.
A lot of folks are looking for some cash to hold them over until next payday.
Many are turning to the internet to search for online loans.
Scammers know it.
So they target folks like Nikea and Richard Wilburn.
The husband and wife are new parents, who have fallen on hard times.
Richard is out of work right now because of a bad back.
But they didn't want that to stop them from a nice first Christmas with their baby, so they decided to search for financial help online.
He found a site that promised loans even if you have bad credit.
"Two, three hours later I get a phone call from this guy, saying I've been approved for a $5,000 loan," said Richard.
The loan rep told him all he needed to do was send them a few hundred dollars in loan fees--a big red flag.
"All I needed was $375 on a green dot moneypak card. And I'd have $5,000 instantly in my bank account."
But Richard says after he sent the money through the card, the rep said he needed another $300.
So he sent it, and never heard from the lender again.
All told, he lost $711.
But you don't have to suffer the same fate.
Just look for the signs.
According to the Federal Trade Commission there are six sure signs that the advanced fee lender you are dealing with is likely scam:
-A lender who isn't interested in your credit history.
-Fees that aren't disclosed clearly or prominently.
-A loan that is offered by phone.
-A lender who uses a copy-cat or wanna-be name.
-A lender who is not registered in your state.
-A lender who asks you to wire money or pay an individual.
Hold off on even applying for an online loan until you know for absolutely sure, that the lender you are dealing with is legitimate.