The Washington State Department of Financial Institutions (DFI) warns consumers to verify the license of any lender they consider doing business with. If consumers are contacted by debt collectors, those consumers should verify the existence of the debt before paying the debt or giving out personal information.
Consumers report that they were targeted by collection and advanced fee loan scams where people claim to represent the following companies:
- Cashnet Payday
- ACS Incorp.
- Cash Net USA/Cash Net USA, Inc.
- Payday Services
- Cash USA, Inc.
In the collection scam, an individual who claimed to be “Officer Nishant Sharma” contacted a consumer via email. However, the consumer did not owe the debt. Officer Sharma threatened to sue the consumer if he did not pay the debt immediately. He also threatened to contact the consumer’s employer. He instructed the consumer to send a payment to India via MoneyGram or Western Union.
Other consumers reported receiving emails and calls threatening legal action for delinquent payday loans that did not exist. One consumer reported that the representatives interchangeably used the company names Cash Net USA, advance loans for payday Utah Inc. and Cash USA, Inc.
Several consumers also report that they were targeted by advanced fee loan scams in which people claimed to represent Cash Net USA. The consumers were told that they could obtain loans if they first paid advanced fees. Two consumers paid the advanced fees and never received the loans. At least some of the consumers were targeted after they applied for loans online from unlicensed companies.
Cashnet Payday, ACS Incorp., Cash Net USA, Inc., Cash USA, and Payday Services are not licensed by DFI as lenders, or by the Washington State Department of Licensing as collection agencies.
CNU of Washington is Licensed
CNU of Washington, LLC d/b/a CashNetUSA is licensed by DFI. However, this licensed company is not associated with the above scams. According to CashNetUSA’s website, it has been targeted by unidentified and illegal organizations that are falsely claiming to represent the company. To learn more, you may visit the company’s website at: cashnetusa/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 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 .
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 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 ; or contact the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (855) 411-CFPB or online at . 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 .
If you feel you have been the victim of a loan scam involving the Internet please contact the Internet Crime Complaint Center online at .
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.