Updated: July 18, 2016
Originally posted: February 26, 2016
The Washington State Department of Financial Institutions (DFI) warns consumers that before doing business with a financial institution, company, or individual, they should make sure that the entity is properly licensed. Consumers are urged to verify license status prior to giving the financial institution, company, or individual any nonpublic personal information, such as social security number or bank account number or access.
DFI has received complaints against “ACS Incorporation” or “ACS Incorp.” It appears that these complaints involve a loan collection scam.
A consumer reported receiving an email from an “Investigation Officer” claiming to represent “ACS Incorp” with regard to collection of an alleged online debt. The email contained a specific payment amount due and stated that if the amount was not paid, the consumer would be sued and his bank accounts would be seized. The consumer reported never having an online loan.
It was also reported that a consumer received a threatening email which alleged he had a delinquent loan. The email contained a PDF attachment entitled, “ACS Settlement Agreement.” The consumer was asked to fill out the form and include a copy of his photo identification and credit card information.
In another report the consumer received an email that contained a case file number and amount due, and stated that if there was no payment within the next 24 hours, the consumer’s information would be sent to the “United States District Court 99 E Bro ward Blvd # 108, Fort Lauder dale, FL 33301, United States” for lawsuit proceedings.
The following information was identified in the emails:
Entity representatives identified themselves as: Shawn Johnson, “Sr. Investigation Officer,” John Harris, and Liam Smith, “Investigation Officer”
“ACS Incorporation” or “ACS Incorp” is not licensed by DFI and is not registered to conduct business in Washington State by the Department of Licensing, the Department of Revenue, or the Secretary of State.
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 www.dfi.wa.gov.
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 www.ftc.gov(link is external).
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 www.dfi.wa.gov.
If you live in another state, find your state regulator(link is external).
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(link is external); or contact the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (855) 411-CFPB or online atwww.consumerfinance.gov(link is external). 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(link is external).
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(link is external).
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.