Alert Number: CA049557_11/14/18(11/19)
Updated: December 14, 2018
Originally posted: January 07, 2016
The Washington State Department of Financial Institutions (DFI) received multiple complaints from Washington consumers regarding what appears to be debt a collection scam. Consumers reported they were contacted by various entities alleging to be collecting on loans owed to “EP Processing, LLC.” These entities claimed to be collecting debts owed for loans the consumers reported never occurred.
One consumer reported that the representative contacted the consumer from various phone numbers and threatened legal action if the debt was not paid. The consumer stated that the caller refused to provide proof of the debt. The consumer also reported never obtaining a loan from “EP Processing, LLC.”
Another consumer received phone calls from a company representing itself to be MCO Arbitration and EP Processing, LLC, attempting to collect on a debt. The consumer requested proof of the debt, but the representative refused. The representative also allegedly threatened civil litigation against the consumer and the consumer’s family.
In addition, two Washington State consumers received phone calls that claimed that the consumers failed to repay a loan from GDS Solutions Collections. The phone calls occurred at odd hours of the day and threatened legal action if the debt was not paid by a certain date. One consumer requested documentation to substantiate the debt, but the caller refused to provide such documentation.
More recently, one Washington State consumer reported receiving a call from Capital Solutions claiming to be collecting on an unpaid payday loan on behalf of “EP Processing, LLC.” The consumer reported being told that EP Processing was overseeing the collection activities for the payday lender. The consumer further reported asking the caller for the name of the company who provided the payday loan, but the caller refused to provide the information. The caller allegedly threatened the consumer with criminal charges if the payday loan was not repaid. The consumer reported to the Department never taking out such a loan.
The above facts have been alleged by the consumers and have not been verified by the Department.
The following telephone numbers and email address were reported to be associated with this apparent scam:
The entities perpetrating the 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.
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 (FDCPA). 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.