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Since she spawned her way onto the public stage in 2009, “Octomom” Nadya Suleman has worn a lot of hats — among other things, she’s become the poster child for in-vitro fertilization, a relentless self-promoter, a high-profile stripper, reality TV star, and America’s preeminent expert in diaper changing. Now, she wants to establish herself as America’s most fecund financial adviser as a shill for OctoLoan, a payday loan company.
On the surface, Suleman would appear to be the worst possible source for financial advice: Since delivering her octuplets, she has been on and off public assistance, and her desperate search for a long-term solution to her money problems has played out on the stages of talk shows, and, more recently, strip clubs.
Then again, Octomom’s forthright admission of her financial problems, combined with her very public search for steady employment, puts her in a position that’s surely familiar to many struggling middle class families. OctoLoan highlights this connection, noting that:
If anyone knows financial hardship Nadya does. This is why she has decided to endorse our service OctoLoan which connects you directly to a lender when you need money quickly.
And therein lies the rub: Octomom’s terrible financial choices, which have driven her to sign an endorsement deal with OctoLoan, are the very thing that she’s suggesting should give her the credibility to encourage other struggling people to make their own bad financial decisions. Payday loans, after all, are among the worst moves that a borrower can make. According to some studies, the average effective interest rate of a payday loan is 455%, and OctoLoan itself states that a “representative annual percentage rate (APR)” on a 14-day, $100 loan would be 651.79%.
Given the complex web of laws regulating loans, it isn’t surprising that OctoLoan is quick to establish its legal bona fides. As the site notes, it is not “a lender nor broker, agent or representative to lenders … This website provides a service wherein we collect the information you provide to use and provide it to an independent network of companies including lenders who will pre qualify you for a loan.”
In other words, OctoLoan is basically a portal that collects information and passes it along to payday lenders, which then write loans. In fact, the site isn’t associated with a financial institution at all — it’s owned by Leadz.co LLC, a marketing company “specializing in providing high-volume leads to financial institutions nationwide.”
Despite its claims to be the “most notable and respected global performance based online marketing organization in the internet industry,” Leadz actually seems to be a bit flimsy: The company’s site doesn’t offer an e-mail or physical address; as for OctoLoan, its physical address is a mailbox located in a UPS Store in Newark, Del.
Neither OctoLoan nor Leadz.co immediately responded to emailed requests for interviews.
To her credit, Suleman’s endorsement isn’t especially effusive. Her simpering visage appears on the site’s main page, alongside the tepid statement that “OctoLoan is a trusted source that connects you to cash lenders nationwide when you need a short term loan fast.”
Then again, for Octomom, at least, the site’s motto, “When you’re financially alone – Octoloan,” may both offer a promise of much-needed income … and a better understanding of why she has sold out to get it.