Updated: July 26, 2016
Originally posted: October 26, 2012
Also Doing Business As:
- Advance America
- Advance America Payday Loans
- Cash America
- Cash Advance America
- Speedy Cash
Note: "Advance America" Should Not Be Confused With Advance America Cash Advance Centers Of Washington, LLC Which Is A Licensed Lender In Washington
The Washington State Department of Financial Institutions (DFI) warns consumers to never give any nonpublic person information, such as social security number, credit card, or bank account information to any individual, website, or company without first verifying their identity and license status. Consumers can determine whether a financial services company or individual is properly licensed to conduct business in the State of Washington by using the “Verify a License” feature on the DFI’s website at www.dfi.wa.gov. Consumers can also check license status with the Department of Licensing at www.dol.wa.gov.
DFI has received reports of apparent scams conducted by individuals claiming to represent Advance America, Advance America Inc., Cash America, Cash Advance America, Speedy Cash, and Advance America Payday Loans.
Numerous consumers received phone calls and/or email messages from people claiming to represent Cash Advance America, Cash America, and Advance America Payday Loans where the callers offered loans in exchange for upfront fees. Although several consumers never applied for a payday loan, the callers insisted that they were calling to discuss the consumers’ online payday loan applications. One consumer reported that, when she refused to wire money to the caller, the caller threatened legal action against her. Several other consumers paid the upfront fee but did not receive the loan promised. At least one consumer also received a similar loan offer via e-mail.
Several consumers were contacted by people claiming that they were collecting a debt owed to Cash Advance America, Advance America, Advance America Inc., or Speedy Cash. One consumer reported receiving multiple harassing phone calls. The caller claimed that the consumer owed a debt for a 2007 payday loan but refused to provide any other details about the debt. The consumer reported that he did not take out any payday loans in 2007. In another case, a consumer received a text message demanding payment. That consumer reported that he never had a loan.
In one case, a consumer received an email that claimed the “Semrad Law Firm” would be handling the collection if the consumer did not pay a settlement. The email stated that it was from “Kristen Johnson” in the “Accounting Department.”
These apparent scams are associated with the following contact information:
DFI cautions that unlicensed entities often engage in certain practices that indicate they are committing a fraud or otherwise violating Washington State law. For instance, such entities often use non-business email addresses (such as -@gmail.com, @yahoo.com, or other similar easily obtained email addresses) to send correspondence, threaten legal or criminal action if consumers do not reply immediately, or contain a variety of typographical and spelling errors in their correspondence to consumers.
However, at times, e-mails or letters from unlicensed entities engaging in fraudulent activity will contain accurate personal information, such as current or past addresses, active phone numbers, or social security numbers. The Department encourages consumers who receive communications containing personal information to contact their banks, credit reporting agencies, and the Social Security Administration to ensure there is no unauthorized activity on their accounts.
DFI strongly recommends that consumers deal only with those lenders that are properly licensed to conduct business. Consumers can determine whether lenders are properly licensed using the “Verify a License” feature on the DFI’s website at www.dfi.wa.gov/consumers/findcompany.htm.
Payday Loan Debt Collection Laws
Collection activities are subject to the federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. Therefore, if you have questions regarding debt collection laws please contact the Federal Trade Commission at 1-877-FTC HELP, or online at www.ftc.gov.
Debt collectors cannot state or imply that failure to pay a debt is a crime. They cannot call before 8:00 a.m. or after 9:00 p.m. They cannot harass or abuse consumers, or contact consumers' places of employment.
Washington State residents, if you are suspicious of unlicensed activity by a payday lender please contact the Washington State Department of Financial Institutions at 1-877-RING-DFI (746-4334), or online at www.dfi.wa.gov.
If you live in another state, find your state regulator.
If you feel you have been the victim of a loan scam please contact the Federal Trade Commission at 1-877-FTC-HELP (382-4357) or online at www.ftc.gov; or contact the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (855) 411-CFPB or online at www.consumerfinance.gov. Because the scammers have access to bank account information and social security numbers, victims should consider themselves victims of identity theft and take appropriate precautions. The Federal Trade Commission has information for victims of identity theft available online at www.ftc.gov.
If you feel you have been the victim of a loan scam involving the Internet please contact the Internet Crime Complaint Center online at www.ic3.gov.
If you feel you have been the victim of a loan scam and are concerned about your personal financial information, contact your banking institution, and the three major credit bureaus.