The Washington State Department of Financial Institutions is warning consumers to verify the license of any lending professional they are considering doing business with to avoid becoming victims of potential scams.
Please note that these scammers are frighteningly well informed, very persistent and extremely threatening. Anyone who has been contacted by them should take steps to protect their personal financial information and treat this as a matter of identity theft.
First Cash International may be conducting a debt collection scam. They also use the name National Federal Credit Union. The company does not have a listed address. A phone number of (707) 324-7723 may be displayed on caller ID.
First Cash International does not appear to have a Web site.
The contact information provided by the company is false. The telephone numbers that may appear on your caller ID appear to be falsified. The company may in fact be located in a foreign country.
The company is not licensed by the Department of Financial Institutions. The company is not registered to do business in Washington by either the Department of Revenue or the Washington Secretary of State.
How the Potential Scam May Work
- Representatives of First Cash International make unsolicited telephone calls to consumers at home or at work. The scammers tell consumers that they are being prosecuted for loan fraud, bank fraud or check fraud because they have defaulted on a payday loan
- The scammers may claim to be attorneys collecting a debt
- The scammers may threaten the consumer with immediate arrest
- The scammers usually tell consumers that they received a payday loan of several hundred dollars in 2008, they may tell the consumer that the debt has increased to several thousand dollars
- The scammers demand immediate payment of the debt by providing a checking account or credit card number
- If a consumer pays the scammers, they will continue to aggressively contact that consumer for even more money
- These scammers are highly persistent and may make dozens of threatening calls in a short period of time.
If You Feel You're A Victim
If you feel you have been a victim of a loan scam, please contact the Federal Trade Commission at 1-877-FTC HELP or online at www.ftc.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.
Consumers should know that Washington state law prohibits threatening or harassing behavior by individuals attempting to collect a payday loan. Only licensed companies are permitted to make payday loans in Washington.
The federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act says debt collectors must send consumers a written notice within five days of their first phone call, showing how much the consumer owes and where the debt is from. The law says collectors can not say or even imply that nonpayment is a crime.
They can't call before 8 a.m. or after 9 p.m. Collectors are not allowed to speak to a consumer’s employer about their debt. They are prohibited from harassing or abusing consumers and they must stop calling if the consumer asks them to.