"We agree with the CFA that these offshore lenders and fly-by-night lenders should be put out of business," Schlein said.
Jackson said she might not have gone to a payday lender outlet, but the Internet made borrowing easy. She admits she didn't read the fine print, and didn't realize the high cost of the loans. She borrowed a total of $3,125 from seven payday lenders.
Her husband initially was unaware of her loans, and only discovered them later when he started working again and saw the money he deposited in their joint account being depleted by payday lenders.
"I thought my marriage would break up after 16 years," she said.
Jackson said she had no success when she wrote the lenders and tried to negotiate a repayment plan. She closed her bank account to stop the debiting, and then bill collectors started calling.
All of the online lenders violated Ohio law that limits loan charges, said Rachel Robinson, a lawyer with Equal Justice Foundation who is working with Jackson. The online lenders set up hurdles to make it difficult for consumers to take complaints to court, Robinson said. One of Jackson's lenders, for example, is based in Ireland and requires disputes to be arbitrated under Irish law by the International Center for Dispute Resolution at The Hague.
If you find yourself in a debt trap with online lenders, contact your bank for help, Fox said. "In some cases, the bank can put a freeze on withdrawals," she said.
Also, notify the attorney general and credit regulators in your home state, in case the loans violate state law. "If they don't have a victim, they don't have the basis to go after these lenders," Fox said.
And set aside a little cash for emergencies.
"If you saved $300 for the next financial crisis, you don't have to go borrow it from somebody at 650 percent annual interest," Fox said.
To suggest a topic, contact Eileen Ambrose at 410-332-6984 or by e-mail at eileen.ambrose @baltsun.com.