Updated: July 18, 2016
Originally posted: January 07, 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 received complaints of what appears to be a collection scam. Several consumers reported receiving emails and phone calls that demand payment for alleged debts. Recently, one consumer reported that an individual claiming to represent “CFS” attempted to collect a debt allegedly owed to “EP Processing, LLC”. The representative contacted the consumer from various phone numbers and threatened legal action if the debt was not paid. The consumer stated that CFS* refused to provide proof of the debt. The consumer also reported that she had never obtained a loan from EP Processing, LLC.
*Be advised, “CFS” should not be confused with the following companies registered to conduct business in the State of Washington through the Secretary of State and Department of Revenue, Business License Services Division:
- CFS Holding, LLC d/b/a Creative Financial Staff
- CFS Holdings Inc.
- CFS Services Inc.
Another Washington State consumer received phone calls from a company representing itself to be MCO Arbitration and EP Processing, LLC, attempting to collect on a debt. The consumer requested proof of the debt but the representative refused. The representative also allegedly threatened civil litigation against the consumer and the consumer’s family.
In addition, two Washington State consumers received phone calls that claimed that the consumers failed to repay a loan from GDS Solutions Collections. The phone calls occurred at odd hours of the day and threatened legal action if the debt was not paid by a certain date. The consumer requested documentation to substantiate the debt, but the caller refused to provide such documentation.
The following telephone numbers and email address were recently operational and appear to be associated with this apparent scam:
EP Processing, LLC, GDS Solutions Collections, MCO Arbitration, and CFS are not licensed by DFI. These companies are also not registered with the Washington Secretary of State, do not have a license to do business in Washington State, and are not licensed collection agencies with the Washington State Department of Licensing.
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 Department’s website at www.dfi.wa.gov.
Washington State residents, if you are suspicious of unlicensed activity by a payday lender please contact the Department at 1-877-RING-DFI (746-4334), or online at www.dfi.wa.gov.
If you live in another state, go to the following webpage to find the regulator in your home state:http://mortgage.nationwidelicensingsystem.org/consumer/Pages/AgencyContacts.aspx(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 (2372) 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.