Should Lenders Mail Unsolicited Checks to Potential Borrowers?

When it comes to preying on weak credit risks, it looks like Wall Street is at it again.

Man's hand holding stack of US currency with some bills flying away, blue background
(Image credit: Phil Leo / Michael Denora)

Q. My brother, who has a history of credit problems, recently got an un­requested check in the mail for $1,200. He was invited to cash it, as a loan from a company called Mariner Finance. He cashed it and signed a loan agreement at 36% interest plus processing fees. He later met with a Mariner salesman who gave him an additional loan and also sold him credit insurance. What do you think about this?

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Knight Kiplinger
Editor Emeritus, Kiplinger

Knight came to Kiplinger in 1983, after 13 years in daily newspaper journalism, the last six as Washington bureau chief of the Ottaway Newspapers division of Dow Jones. A frequent speaker before business audiences, he has appeared on NPR, CNN, Fox and CNBC, among other networks. Knight contributes to the weekly Kiplinger Letter.