PCS Legal Group
August 30, 2013
Payday Loan Debt Collection Scheme
The Washington State Department of Financial Institutions (DFI) received a report that a Washington consumer was contacted via email and telephone by PCS Legal Group stating that PCS Legal Group was attempting to collect on a debt for an outstanding payday loan that the consumer obtained from Advance Cash Services.
The consumer did not have an outstanding payday loan from Advance Cash Services or any other company. It was also reported that the caller called the consumer’s place of employment numerous times and threatened to arrest the consumer for fraud.
The company is not licensed by the Washington State of Department of Financial Institutions or by the Washington State Department of Licensing and is not registered with the Washington State Department of Revenue.
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 DFI’s website at www.dfi.wa.gov/consumers/findcompany.htm.
Payday Loan Debt 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.
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 (FTC) at 1-877-FTC HELP, or online at www.ftc.gov.
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 www.dfi.wa.gov.
If you live in another state, find your state regulator.
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; or contact the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (855) 411-CFPB or online at www.consumerfinance.gov. 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 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.
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.