The Washington State Department of Financial Institutions (DFI) received a complaint indicating that individuals using the entity name “Berks and Lewis Litigation” contacted a consumer via telephone attempting to collect a debt. The individuals asked the consumer to verify her identity with sensitive information. The consumer reported having no knowledge of a loan with the entity.
The consumer reported that the telephone calls were made to her workplace and that the callers had initially represented that they were a courier service and had a package for her, leaving her a phone number and reference number. When the consumer called the number back, the person answering the phone call tried to obtain the consumer’s personal information. The consumer reported that the caller had attempted to contact co-workers as well.
The consumer reported that the caller used or provided the following phone number: 1-949-622-1180. The consumer believes that the caller or entity might be located in Ontario, California.
“Berks and Lewis Litigation” is not registered to conduct business in Washington State by the DFI, 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.
Debt Collection Laws
Collection activities by third parties are subject to the federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA). Consumers should request a written validation notice from a person attempting to collect a debt allegedly owed to a third party. The validation notice must include the amount of the debt, the name of the creditor to whom the debt is owed, and the rights that a consumer has under FDCPA. Consumers should never make payments over the phone to a third party debt collector that refuses to provide a written validation notice. 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 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.