Updated: January 22, 2018
Originally posted: November 12, 2014
Alert Number: CA048413_1/16/18(1/19)
The Washington State Department of Financial Institutions (DFI) has received several complaints from Washington consumers against Ace Cash Express. Several consumers reported that they were contacted by email or telephone by persons attempting to collect loans for $750 or less. Consumers who have either paid off a loan, or have never taken out a loan from the company report that they have been:
- Contacted by an individual named Frank Dollard representing Debt Settlement Division,
- Contacted by an individual named Mike Bell on behalf of Chris Robinson & Associates (or C R and Associates),
- Contacted by debt Recovery,
- Refused information on the alleged loan and proof of the debt,
- Provided with fake case numbers and threats of technical evidence that money was deposited into the consumer’s account,
- Received demands to make payment in the form of pre-paid cards, and/or
- Threatened with legal action through a court or by the I.R.S. or jail time if payment was not provided.
This information is alleged by the consumers and has not been verified by the Department.
Here is the contact information that is associated with these apparent scams:
Those perpetrating these 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.
ACE Cash Express Inc Of Irving Texas
Please note that Ace Cash Express should not be confused with ACE Cash Express, Inc. (ACE) d/b/a ACE America’s Cash Express, 1231 Greenway Drive, Suite 600, Irving Texas 75038-2511, which was previously licensed in Washington.
ACE Cash Express, Inc. (ACE) has provided the following information to help consumers determine when a legitimate communication is received from this company:
ACE does not send emails from “gmail.com” accounts. All ACE emails come from an “acecashexpress.com” account. Additionally, when ACE employees contact a consumer by telephone, they will identify themselves as being from ACE Cash Express.
ACE identifies itself on all correspondence. All correspondence regarding collections comes directly from ACE corporate headquarters in Irving, Texas. A consumer can request a Verification of Debt at any time and ACE will provide the verification as required by law.
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, find the regulator in your home state.
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.