The Washington State Department of Financial Institutions (DFI) has received a report of what appears to be an advance fee loan scam. A Washington State consumer reported that, after applying for several loans online, he received a phone call from Loans of America. Loans of America offered a loan to the consumer if the consumer first made one payment of $234 using a prepaid card. After the consumer made the payment, Loans of America demanded an additional payment of $680. The consumer did not receive the loan and Loans of America refused to refund the payment.
The following phone numbers are related to this apparent scam:
DFI obtained records from a company providing service to the above telephone numbers. The records obtained suggest that the individuals operating Loans of America are in India. Loans of America is not licensed to provide loans in Washington State. It is also not licensed to do business in Washington State.
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.
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.