Payday Loan Collection Scam
Updated: October 16, 2014
Originally posted: April 29, 2013
It has been reported to the Washington State Department of Financial Institutions (DFI) that a consumer was contacted multiple times via email by an individual identifying himself as “Officer Nishant Sharma,” interchangeably stating that he represented companies Cashnet Payday, ACS Incorp., Cash Net USA, and Payday Services regarding a delinquent payday loan. However, the consumer did not have an outstanding payday loan.
The representative contacted the consumer and threatened legal action against the consumer unless the requested fees were paid immediately. The representative also threatened to contact the consumer’s employer. The consumer was urged to send payment to India by MoneyGram or Western Union.
The consumer provided the following email address that is allegedly tied to the company: firstname.lastname@example.org.
DFI also received a complaint from a consumer who was the target of an advance fee scam. After the consumer applied for a loan from various websites, a representative identified as “Robin Wilson” from Cashnet USA Loans offered the consumer a loan if the consumer first paid a fee via prepaid card. After the consumer paid the fee, the representative demanded additional fees. The consumer never received a loan or refund.
Another consumer reported receiving numerous calls from individuals identifying themselves as representatives from Cashnet USA. The callers told the consumer that she was approved for a loan. However, the consumer indicated to the Department that she did not apply for a loan. The following phone numbers are associated with this apparent scam: 850-364-8052, 850-615-6080, and 312-912-8139.
Cashnet Payday, ACS Incorp., and Payday Services are not licensed by the Washington State of Department of Financial Institutions as a lender, or by the Washington State Department of Revenue Business Licensing Service as a collections agent.
CNU of Washington Is Licensed
Although one of the companies the representatives are purporting to be from is CashNetUSA, it should be noted that CNU of Washington, d/b/a CashNetUSA, website: www.CashNetUSA.com is licensed with the Department of Financial Institutions. There is no indication that these communications are being made on behalf of this licensed company. According to CashNetUSA’s website, the company has been targeted by several unidentified and illegal organizations that are falsely claiming to be lenders or debt collectors representing their company. To learn more, you may visit the company’s website at: http://www.cashnetusa.com/consumer-notices.
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.