Never pay fees before you get a loan

Keys on top of mortgage contract

Legitimate lenders don't require borrowers to pay "processing fees" -- or any other charges -- until a loan is approved and a check is the consumer's hand.

Crooks running advance-fee loan scams do.

They often advertise personal or home equity loans in newspaper classified sections or on Web sites, enticing consumers with lower interest rates, higher loan limits and quicker approvals than other lenders.

Banks and finance companies usually deduct their fees from the check borrowers are given after a loan is approved. Con artists tell borrowers they must pay several hundred dollars in fees before the loan is made. Once the scammers have that money, they stop returning phone calls and disappear.

Click here to see Interest.com's 6 smart moves to avoid predatory lenders.