9 dumb ways to borrow money, and 4 better options

Of all the ways to waste money, giving it to high-interest lenders, pawnbrokers and loan sharks are some of the worst. At least when you gamble, you get some entertainment. With a high-interest loan, you just shovel money, and lots of it, into someone else's hands. Here are some of the worst loans possible:

Protect yourself

If you are thinking about using any of the loans above, the chances are good that your back is against the wall. Here are better options:

Look at your credit score. Don't assume your credit is bad. Bad loans often are sold to people who could qualify for cheaper products. Read "How to Get Your Credit Report in 6 Easy Steps."

Try credit counseling.The alternative to high-interest loans is getting control of your financial life. No one's saying it's easy, but many people have done it with free counseling from a nonprofit credit counseling agency.

Learn the APR. When you're shopping for any loan, find out the APR (annual percentage rate, or the interest rate plus fees) and be sure to learn all costs and fees. Comparison-shop for loans by comparing APRs. The lowest APR is the best deal.

Complain.The CFPB takes complaints about abusive loans, forwarding your complaint to the lender. It tries to get a response for you.

Tell us your bad loan horror stories by posting a comment below or at Money Talks News' Facebook page.

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