Posted by: Kristen Tyagi
Effort will encourage consumers to ‘Look for the Seal’ when choosing a trustworthy online lender
WASHINGTON, D.C. (December 8, 2014) —The Online Lenders Alliance (OLA) launched an initiative today aimed at educating consumers on the importance of choosing an online lender committed to protecting them from fraud.
According to the Federal Trade Commission, in 2011, 11 percent of U.S. adults, or an estimated 25.6 million people, paid for fraudulent products and services they found via the Internet. While this number is related to the Internet as a whole, consumers interested in obtaining an online loan must be vigilant against fraud.
The educational effort, which includes digital advertising and outreach to consumers applying for loans, aims to take the guessing game out of choosing a trustworthy lender. Consumers are asked to look for the OLA seal when choosing an online lender.
“OLA members are committed to upholding the strictest best practices and industry standards,” said Lisa McGreevy, president and CEO of the Online Lenders Alliance. “Each year, thousands of Americans are defrauded by bad actors in the industry. I am proud of OLA’s members for taking a stand against this unscrupulous behavior, and standing up for consumers like you and me.”
When consumers see the OLA seal, they can rest assured they are working with a company committed to the highest standards of conduct, dedicated to ensuring the best possible experience for their customers, fully compliant with federal law and working hard to protect consumers from fraud.
OLA member companies prominently display the OLA seal on their websites, informing consumers of their commitment to combating fraud in the industry. The OLA seal can only be displayed by OLA members, who are required to comply with a 50-page set of best practices. When clicked, the seal is designed to redirect visitors to the OLA website, where they can read more about our commitment to consumers, and obtain important information such as consumer resources, tips and a copy of the OLA Best Practices.
OLA members take their pledge to consumers very seriously and have funded a mystery shopper to ensure that all companies, not just OLA members, are treating customers appropriately. All instances of fraud will be reported to the appropriate regulatory and enforcement agencies. OLA will also issue cease and desist letters to any company that violates the OLA Best Practices. OLA members and consumers alike are asked to police and report to OLA any websites they suspect are incorrectly displaying the OLA seal, or engaging in fraudulent behavior.
This year alone, OLA and its members submitted 179 fraud reports to the Federal Trade Commission. In addition to OLA’s efforts to police the industry, consumers who suspect they have been targeted by a fraudulent lender, are invited to call the OLA consumer hotline (1-866-299-7585), where they can speak with a live operator to report deceptive behavior.