The High Price Of Free Money

from the scam-scam-scam-scam dept

I have a friend who works for an organization that tries to put payday loan type scams out of business. Basically, they prey on people who don’t undertand math at all, and who are in desperate need of some immediate cash. The actual interest rates being charged are ridiculous. However, as people have been cracking down on the scams and passing laws against them, the scammers are moving online and getting more creative. The latest version is the “shopping club” rebate program. Basically, you pay a bit of money to join a special shopping club, and get some “instant” cash you can spend. However, when you look at how much you end up paying to the company, it’s insane. One example they give is you agree to pay $60 twice a month for six months, in exchange for $200 right now. Now, it’s not too tricky to figure out why this is a bad deal – but some people need immediate cash, and see this as the only way to do it. Of course, this just sinks them deeper into a hole. The new programs say you’ll get “valuable coupons” as well – but instead send “coupon order forms” that you need to send out. The “club” also seems to very quickly approve your application – but if you want information or to cancel, they won’t answer your calls (how nice).

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