Washington State Department of Financial Institutions

Consumer Alert:
American Cash Services USA

aka American Unlimited Cash USA
aka USA Unlimited
aka American Legal Services
and possibly other aliases with the initials ACS

Possible Payday Loan Collection Scam

Updated: April 17, 2014
Originally posted: February 22, 2011

It has been reported to the Washington State Department of Financial Institutions (DFI) that consumers are contacted at their home and work telephone numbers, or by email, regarding supposedly delinquent payday loans. In some instances, the consumer applied for a payday loan but was turned down, and then subsequently started receiving collections calls.

The representatives make numerous and repeated harassing contacts by telephone or email to the consumer, threatening legal action unless the consumer pays the requested fees. The callers are also reported to have contacted consumers’ relatives or other references.

The representatives will sometimes identify themselves as law enforcement officers, attorneys from the “Legal Department,” or even from the “United Nations Legal Department.” The callers generally have “American-sounding” names, such as “Michael Smith” or “Steve Martin,” but their English is very heavily accented.

Consumers have reported that the callers have identifying information such as checking account information, social security information, and other nonpublic personal information.

Consumers have also reported that American Cash Services USA, American Cash, American Unlimited Cash USA, USA Unlimited, American Legal Services, and entities using other variations with the initials “ACS” are tied to various telephone numbers, including: 832-232-0384, 404-410-2486, 347-468-8535, 315-507-8391, 607-595-1838, 413-835-4855 and 714-929-7223, and email address collections.cashnet.us@gmail.com. In some instances, calls to these telephone numbers either result in a message indicating that the company is not available, or that the number is disconnected.

These companies are not licensed by the Department of Financial Institutions as a payday lender or by the Washington State Department of Revenue Business Licensing Service as a collections agent.

Washington residents are advised that state law provides in RCW 31.45.105(1)(d) and (3) that a small loan made by an unlicensed entity to a person physically located in Washington is uncollectible and unenforceable in Washington State.

Verify Licenses

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 DFI’s website at www.dfi.wa.gov.

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.

Report Fraud

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.

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