Updated: November 30, 2015
Originally posted: February 22, 2011
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, consumers should verify that debt that being collected is debt that the consumer actually owes. DFI urges consumers to verify the debt before making payment arrangements or giving out nonpublic personal information.
DFI has received complaints about what appears to be a collection scam. Consumers report receiving calls or e-mails claiming that the consumers owe debts that they do not actually owe. This scam appears to target consumers who applied for loans from unlicensed companies online. The people behind this scam claim that the consumers owe debt to companies with “ACS” in their names or the initials “ACS.” Examples include:
- American Cash Services
- American Cash Services USA
- Advance Cash Services
- Ace Cash Services
- ACS Legal Group
Some consumers report receiving repeated harassing collection calls. The callers call consumers at work and home. In some cases, they have called consumers’ credit references. The callers often threaten legal action. Many of the callers claim to be attorneys or members of law enforcement. The callers often have the consumer’s personal information such as checking account numbers and social security numbers.
Other consumers report receiving repeated harassing e-mails. These e-mails also threaten legal action, and may come from senders claiming to be attorneys or members of law enforcement. The people sending these e-mails also have access to consumers’ personal information.
The following contact information has been associated with this apparent scam:
None of the above-listed companies are licensed by DFI. These companies are also not registered with the Secretary of State, do not have a license to do business in Washington State, and are not licensed collection agencies.
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.
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).
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.