If you need money fast and don't have any stashed away, you might turn to payday lenders.
Now the newest thing is online lenders. But as one woman learned, just looking into these lenders can cost you money.
Website Offers Fast Cash
When Kathy Youtsler needed cash, she went online and quickly found a website offering loans of up to $2,000.
"I was looking to get a loan," Youtsler said, "and they were one of the websites I came to. It was called FastLoan4Me.com ."
So she applied online.
An email sent to her said she was preapproved and that she just needed to give her bank information.
"They wanted my routing number, my checking number, which I gave to them. They said it was a a private (secure) site. And that's the last I heard from them," Youtsler said.
She said the loan never appeared. But within days, the company took $30 from her bank account.
"I found an electronic check went through my checking account and they had deducted $30," Youtsler said.
A week later, she says, they took money again.
"This past Friday I had another $30 come out from them," she said.
The worst part: she had authorized it by giving the site her account number.
BBB Tries to Reach Company
The Better Business Bureau gives an "F" rating to Fast Loan 4 Me , and what it says are its sister sites, "Fast Loan Fast" and "Loan 4 U Today." All list the same phone number, which connects to an automated voice recording.
The BBB has received more than 700 complaints about the three companies.
All list a post office box in Nevada as their address, but neither we nor the BBB were able to reach anyone there, either by calling or emailing. Our email was bounced back, while the BBB says its snail mail letters were returned unopened.
It turns out the fine print states it's not a lender: It simply puts you in touch with lenders, for a $30 weekly fee.
Youtsler, who's now changing her bank account number, wishes she had known that.
"It's Fast Loans 4 Me," she said, "but I think it's really fast loans for them."
Never Give Bank Account or SSN Numbers
The BBB cautions that unfamiliar websites are just about the worst place to get a loan.
Never give bank account info to a lender you don't know, or who does not have a local storefront you can visit, so you don't waste your money.
Don't Waste Your Money is a registered trademark of the EW Scripps Co.
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