- Associated Press - Friday, August 19, 2016

AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) - Maine officials are warning people to be wary of casino loans, debt consolidation deals and other common debt traps.

A new consumer guidebook on high-interest, high-cost loans points out the perils of obtaining such loans and suggests alternatives.

David Leach, one of the booklet’s co-authors and a state Bureau of Consumer Credit Protection examiner, advises consumers to first figure out if your budget can afford a new installment payment, then comparison-shop for the lowest annual percentage rate.

He suggests delaying purchases and saving up to pay cash for items.

Guidebook co-author Kyrie Johnson, a summer intern, pointed out that loans are never free.

The book, entitled “”The Downeaster Common Sense Guide to High Interest/High Cost Loans,” can be ordered by calling the bureau at 1-800-332-8529.

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