Updated: October 16, 2017
Originally Posted: October 31, 2013
Alert Number: CA048078_ 10/6/17
Also Doing Business As:
- Cash Advance
- US Cash Advance
- Cash Advance Inc
- and other entities using variations of the name “Cash Advance”
The Washington State Department of Financial Institutions (DFI) has received complaints from Washington consumers of what appear to be loan collection scams. Numerous consumers reported they were contacted by entities claiming to collect debts owed to companies with “Cash Advance” in their names. The collection attempts often involve threats of lawsuits, asset seizure, and arrest. The consumers targeted did not actually owe the debt being collected. At least some of the consumers were targeted after they applied for loans from unlicensed online lenders.
Most recently, a consumer reported being contacted through email by an individual referring to himself as Victor Allen from Cash Advance USA. The email demanded payment for a cash advance the consumer reported never occurred. The consumer reported being provided with an alleged account payoff amount and being threatened with legal action if payment was not received.
Another consumer reported that an individual claiming to be Morris Anderson, representing Anderson Loan Assistance, contacted the consumer attempting to collect a debt allegedly owed to Cash Advance USA. The individual contacted the consumer through email and phone calls, and allegedly threatened legal action for a loan the consumer states was not received. The consumer reported being provided with an alleged account number and payoff amount.
Several other consumers reported receiving threatening emails attempting to collect debts allegedly owed to a company owned by Cash Advance, Inc. The emails list numerous payday lenders and claim these lenders are owned by Cash Advance, Inc. Some of these e-mails were sent by people calling themselves Jason Marriott and David Jones.
One consumer reported receiving an email from a man calling himself William C. Jones, who claimed to work at a Federal Trade Commission office. He allegedly threatened to disclose the debt to the consumer’s employer, garnish wages, and file a lawsuit against the consumer. Another consumer reported receiving a similar e-mail from a person calling himself Neal Johnson. The consumer reported that what appear to be fake U.S. District Court arrest warrants were attached to these e-mails.
Several consumers also reported receiving phone calls from entities attempting to collect debts owed to Cash Advance, Cash Advance Group, and US Cash Advance. Some of the collection calls came from people who called themselves Brian Wilson, John Murphy, Jim Spencer, and Andrew Martin. Some calls also came from a person claiming to work for Peterson Law Group and Debt Collection USA.
In another case, the consumer reported that the caller threatened to seize the consumer’s bank account and serve the consumer with legal papers at his workplace unless he paid the debt. Another consumer reported being threatened with arrest. In one case, a consumer reported the debt collector threatened that he could have an arrest warrant issued if the consumer did not immediately pay him with a credit card. In other cases, consumers report the debt collector demanded payment using a pre-paid card.
Another consumer reported receiving an email explaining a “Final Legal Notice” on behalf of a parent company of Cash Advance, Inc. The email was from a man calling himself Robert Jones and disclosed a fictitious case number and payment amount. He allegedly threatened legal proceedings and told the consumer that attorney fees would accompany the amount owed if he did not hear back from the consumer.
In another complaint, a consumer reported receiving threatening emails from entities claiming to be “Associated Recover System, Division of National Debt Settlement” and “Account Wing.” The emails allegedly threatened legal action if the consumer did not pay on an alleged loan with Cash Advance, Inc.
Here is the contact information that is associated with these apparent scams:
12850 W 331 Ste. 60
Alpamont, UT 84201
8901 S Wilton Place
Los Angeles, CA 90047
25954 Eden Landing Rd.
Hayward, CA 94545
Those perpetrating these apparent scams are not licensed by the Department and are not registered to conduct business in Washington State by the Department of Licensing, the Department of Revenue, or the Secretary of State. The Department of Licensing licenses and regulates collection agencies under RCW 19.16.
DFI warns Washington consumers:
- Never send money or provide access to your bank or credit card in response to threatening telephone calls or emails you receive claiming that you owe a debt.
- Never give any personal information, such as social security number, credit card, or bank account information to any individual, website, or company without first verifying their identity and license status.
- Check that a financial services company or individual is properly licensed to conduct business in the state of Washington by using the “Verify a License” feature on the DFI’s website at www.dfi.wa.gov.
- Check the license status of collection agencies with the State of Washington Department of Licensing at www.dol.wa.gov.
Please note that Cash Advance USA, Cash Advance, Cash Advance Group, US Cash Advance, Cash Advance, Inc., and other entities using variations of the name ‘Cash Advance’ should not be confused with the following companies licensed to conduct business through the Secretary of State, Department of Revenue, and/or Department of Licensing:
CASH IN ADVANCE, INC.
ADVANCE AMERICA, CASH ADVANCE CENTERS OF WASHINGTON, LLC.
d/b/a CASH ADVANCE CENTERS.
Please note that the collection attempts allegedly made by Peterson Law Group in connection with the apparent scams, should not be confused with the following companies licensed to conduct business through the Oregon Secretary of State and the Washington Secretary of State:
Peterson Law Group
2725 N. Kerby Ave., Suite A
Phone: (503) 288-5522
The Petersen Law Firm
1104 Main Street, Suite 640
Phone: (360) 326-1549
Important Information for Washington State Consumers
Residents of the State of Washington are informed that Washington State law provides in RCW 31.45.105(1)(d) and (3) that a “small loan” (sometimes referred to as a “payday loan”) made by an unlicensed entity to a person physically located in Washington State is uncollectible and unenforceable in Washington State. A “small loan” is defined in RCW 31.45.073 and is a loan that does not exceed $700. Collection activities involving loans of $700 or less are subject to RCW 31.45.082, which limits the time, place, and manner in which a payday loan may be collected. Payday lenders must also provide borrowers with an installment plan if the borrower is not able to pay the small loan back when it is due.
Information About Federal Debt Collection Law
If you received a loan from a lender or owed money to a business and someone other than the lender or business is now attempting to collect from you, the collection activity may be subject to the federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. If you receive a communication from a party claiming that a debt is owed, you can request a “written validation notice,” which must include the amount of the debt, the name of the creditor you owe, and your rights under the FDCPA. If you have questions regarding federal debt collection laws, you can contact the Federal Trade Commission at 1-877-FTC-HELP or online at www.ftc.gov.
Prevent and Report Identity Theft
Consumers should never make payments over the phone or via email to a third party debt collector that refuses to provide a written validation notice. Even if the party seems to have some of your personal or financial information, you should not make payments or provide bank account or credit card information without receiving a written validation notice. If the scammers already have your bank account information, social security number, or other nonpublic information, you may be a victim of identity theft. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has information for victims of identity theft available online at www.ftc.gov.
If you feel you have been the victim of a financial scam and are concerned about your personal financial information, contact your bank and the three major credit bureaus. Procedures for contacting the credit bureaus are available on the FTC’s website at www.ftc.gov.
Report Suspicious Activity, Scams or Fraud
If someone threatens to garnish your wages, contact your employer, or uses threatening, intimidating, or offensive language, report such actions to state and federal regulators.
Washington State residents only: If you are a victim of a collection scam or if you suspect illegal or fraudulent activity involving a financial product or service, please contact the Department of Financial Institutions at 1-877-RING-DFI (746-4334), or online at www.dfi.wa.gov. You may also wish to contact the state of Washington Office of the Attorney General at www.atg.wa.gov.
If you live in another state, go to this webpage to find the regulator in your home state. http://mortgage.nationwidelicensingsystem.org/consumer/Pages/AgencyContacts.aspx.
All consumers, if you feel you have been the victim of a scam you might also with to contact the FTC at 1-877-FTC-HELP (382-4357) or online at www.ftc.gov; or contact the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (855) 411-CFPB (2372) or online at www.consumerfinance.gov.
If you feel you have been the victim of a scam involving the internet you may also contact the Internet Crime Complaint Center online at www.ic3.gov.