En español | Q. My husband and I want to borrow money to pay down our bills, but our credit isn't the greatest. I've seen ads that promise to lend money to people regardless of their credit rating. Are these lenders on the up and up?
A. Probably not. Ads and websites that guarantee loans to people despite their creditworthiness are often scams, according to the Federal Trade Commission.
See also: Spot credit repair scams.
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These offers are commonly made by so-called advance fee lenders. Be aware that companies are not permitted to ask you by phone to pay a fee upfront before they make good on their promise of a loan.
If you do decide to pursue a loan, make sure the lender you do business with is registered in your state. To be sure, call your state attorney general's office or your state's department of banking or financial regulation.
Carole Fleck is a senior editor at the AARP Bulletin.