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Online Lenders Alliance Marks National Consumer Protection Week By Highlighting Year-Round Efforts to Combat Scams and Fraud in Online Lending

By March 6, 2024March 7th, 2024No Comments

-Consumers Seeking Online Loans Should Look for the OLA Seal and Use OLA’s Consumer Hotline To Report Fraud or Get Answers to Any Questions- 

ARLINGTON, Va. (March 6, 2023)—As the nation observes National Consumer Protection Week this week (March 3-9), the Online Lenders Alliance (OLA) is once again highlighting its efforts to protect consumers in the online credit marketplace by combatting scams and fraud. According to one estimate, about half of all financial institutions have reported an increase in fraud in 2023, relative to the year before. OLA’s Code of Conduct and Best Practices are built around a core of protecting consumers and treating them fairly, and OLA maintains several year-round initiatives to identify and remediate scams and fraud.

All OLA members are required to adhere to industry-leading best practices designed to protect consumers. These best practices cover advertising and marketing, application and origination, payment processing, collections, and data security. OLA also operates an aggressive website monitoring program that scours the internet for misleading terminology regularly used by fraudsters and scammers looking to take advantage of consumers. Since this program was initiated in 2016, OLA’s efforts to police URLs has resulted in more than 743,000 violations flagged. 97.5% of these violations have been resolved through OLA enforcement actions.

Consumers looking to report suspected fraud or get assistance navigating the online lending landscape can also use the OLA Consumer Hotline. To access this free resource, consumers can call 1-866-299-7585 or send an email to complaints@oladc.org. Last year, this hotline received more than 3,500 consumer calls, approximately 230 of which were complaints about fraud, and these are sent to the Federal Trade Commission each year.

Like in many industries, consumers should be wary of potential financial and lending scams and they should be particularly vigilant when seeking financial resources or being contacted about their finances. Signs of a potential scam include:

  • Offers of loans or credit that require a consumer to first pay a “processing fee” or other financial obligation before the creditor transmits the funds to their account or a prepaid card.
  • Lending companies that will not provide a loan agreement without proper disclosures, such as those required by the Truth in Lending Act (TILA).
  • Unexpected communications from a lender seeking to collect on a debt.
  • Unsolicited requests for personal or financial information, whether they are from your existing financial provider or someone new.
  • Companies or customer service representatives who engage in aggressive or pressure tactics— like a “limited time offer”—to push a consumer into a financial product or make a financial decision.
  • Solicitations that seem too good to be true, especially those that include wording such as “guaranteed,” “no credit check,” “funds immediately,” or “all applications approved.

Lastly, consumers seeking online loans should always remember to look for the OLA seal on their prospective lender’s website. This signifies that the company has agreed to follow the Online Lenders Alliance’s strict set of Best Practices designed to protect consumers and treat them fairly, and that they are committed to the highest standards of conduct, dedicated to ensuring the best possible experience for their customers, are fully compliant with federal laws, and are doing their part to protect consumers from fraud.

National Consumer Protection Week, led by the Federal Trade Commission, falls annually on the first full week of March and organizations across the country highlight ways to avoid scams, fraud, identity theft, and other relevant consumer protection issues.

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