Originally posted: 02/24/16
The Washington State Department of Financial Institutions (DFI) has received two recent complaints from Washington consumers against Consumer Loan Center Consumer Loan Center dba Consumer Loan Center of Seattle Washington (CLC). The consumers both reported that CLC had offered them each loans of over $3,000. As an additional cost, the consumers would have to pay advance fees in order to obtain the supposed loan, and would need to do so in the form of iTunes gift cards. One consumer purchased the gift cards and provided the numbers to a supposed employee of CLC. All aspects of the transactions took place over telephone. The Department is only reporting these allegations and has not verified the information provided by the consumers.
The following contact information is purportedly associated with CLC:
- Sally Morgan
- Roger Seno
- Calvin Morgan
It appears that CLC may be engaged in an “Advance Fee Loan Scam” as it was requiring payment of an upfront or advance fee (in the form of gift cards) in order for the consumers to be able to obtain a loan. It appears CLC did not provide the consumers with a loan after the consumers paid the advance fee.
CLC is not licensed by the DFI and is not registered to conduct business in Washington State by the Department of Licensing, the Department of Revenue, or the Secretary of State.
DFI warns Washington consumers that when considering doing business with a financial service provider the consumer can:
- Make sure that the entity is licensed. Consumers can use the “Verify a License” feature on DFI’s website at www.dfi.wa.gov to check whether a payday or consumer loan company is licensed to conduct business in the state of Washington.
- Never provide any personal information, such as social security number or bank account number or access if the company is not licensed or authorized to conduct business.
Important Information for Washington Consumers About Unlicensed Lenders
Washington State residents are informed that Washington State law provides in RCW 31.04.035 that fees or interest charged in the making of a nonresidential loan by an unlicensed lender must be refunded to the borrower. For a residential mortgage loan, an unlicensed lender must refund any non-third-party fees charged in connection with the origination (excluding interest charges).
Washington residents only: If you suspect unlicensed activity by a payday lender or consumer loan company, please contact the Department at 1-877-RING-DFI (746-4334), or online at www.dfi.wa.gov. Even if the activity involves a loan you obtained over the internet, a license is generally still required. If a collection agency is attempting to collect a debt from you, you can check whether the company is licensed by the State of Washington Department of Licensing.
Collection activities by payday lenders in the State of Washington are subject to RCW 31.45.082, which limits the time, place, and manner by which a payday lender may collect a debt. Payday lenders must also provide borrowers with an installment plan if the borrower is not able to pay the small loan back when it is due.
Important Information For All Consumers
- If you received a loan from a lender and someone else is now attempting to collect the loan, collection activity may be subject to the federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA). If you are contacted by a third party claiming you owe a debt, you can request a “written validation notice,” which must provide the amount of the debt, the name of the creditor you owe, and your rights under the FDCPA. If you have questions regarding federal debt collection laws you can contact the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) at 1-877-FTC-HELP or online at www.ftc.gov.
- If you feel you have been the victim of a scam you can contact the FTC at 1-877-FTC-HELP (382-4357) or online at www.ftc.gov; or the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) at 1-855-411-CFPB (2372) or online at www.consumerfinance.gov.
- If the scammers already have your bank account information, social security number, or other personal information, you may be a victim of identity theft. You can contact your bank and the three major credit bureaus to take appropriate precautions. The FTC has information for victims of identity theft online at www.ftc.gov.
- If you feel you have been the victim of a scam involving the internet you can contact the Internet Crime Complaint Center online at www.ic3.gov.
- If you feel you have been the victim of a financial scam and are concerned about your personal financial information, you can contact your banking institution and the three major credit bureaus. Procedures for contacting the credit bureaus are available on the FTC’s website at www.ftc.gov.
- If you live in another state, go to this webpage to find the regulator in your home state. http://mortgage.nationwidelicensingsystem.org/consumer/Pages/AgencyContacts.aspx.