Washington State Department of Financial Institutions

Consumer Alert:
Nationwide Debt Association

Payday Loan Debt Collection Scam

April 18, 2013

The Washington State Department of Financial Institutions (DFI) received a complaint from a Washington consumer who indicated she received multiple phone calls from an individual named Robert James who identified himself as being either the owner of the company or an attorney representing Nationwide Debt Association collecting on a payday loan. This individual provided several different phone numbers for Nationwide Debt Association, including: (814) 289-8206 and (818) 408-8911. No address was identified for the entity.

Initially the caller claimed the consumer owed $420.00, but could settle it for $300.00 by going to Walmart and buying a Greendot Money card which the consumer did and provided to the entity. A few hours later the Washington consumer received another call from the individual identifying himself as Robert James claiming the consumer still owed more than $4500.00 on a payday loan, but could settle the debt by paying $3000.00 or they would have the consumer arrested for fraud. When the consumer refused and hung up on the individual, the consumer received a call back which appeared on their caller identification as from 911 and the consumer was told that the authorities were 10 blocks away coming to arrest the consumer. So the consumers contacted Robert James who indicated he would agree to $3500.00 which the consumers then deposited into a Bank of America account provided by this individual.

Then the consumer received another call and was again informed they owed money on a loan and if they didn’t pay another $3000.00, the entity would have the consumer arrested. The consumer then contacted the police and discovered it was a scam and filed a complaint with DFI.

Nationwide Debt Association is not licensed with DFI or registered with the Washington Secretary of State, Department of Revenue or Department of Licensing.

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 the DFI’s website at www.dfi.wa.gov.

Payday Loan Collection Laws

Washington State law prohibits threatening or harassing behavior by individuals attempting to collect a debt. The federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act states that debt collectors must send consumers a written notice within five days of the first collection phone call, stating the amount of the debt and what it relates to. 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.

Report Fraud

If you are suspicious of unlicensed activity by a payday lender please contact the Department of Financial Institutions at 1-877-RING-DFI (746-4334), or online at www.dfi.wa.gov.

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.

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.

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