It is not always easy to make ends meet. Many people in Maine work paycheck to paycheck and often that is still not enough.

When times get tough, hardworking Mainers sometimes turn to a short-term loan to cover basic expenses until the next paycheck arrives. These are known as payday loans, and sometimes taking out these loans can be risky.

Recently in Maine, online predatory lenders have been taking advantage of those struggling to get by. They flood the Internet with tempting loan offers, hoping people will take the bait.

At first, these loans offered by online lenders might seem like a good deal. However, what many consumers don’t realize is that they are often a scam. Without warning, consumers might get hit with 500, 600 or 700 percent interest rates and can even be charged fees the size of the entire loan itself. The terms of the loans are deceptive and there is no truth-in-lending disclosure.

Under current law, these lenders are able to freely access borrowers’ bank accounts through U.S.-based middlemen who process electronic money transfers.

That is why we support legislation sponsored by Rep. Christine Powers, D-Naples, that would make it illegal to process the electronic transactions that these unlicensed lenders use to access borrowers’ bank accounts.

These loans can ruin a person’s life. It is unacceptable that so many people are being taken advantage of when they already suffering from a financial hardship.

This measure will protect low-income consumers from falling into an even deeper financial hole.

Rep. Catherine Nadeau, D-WinslowRep. Stanley Short Jr., D-Pittsfield

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