The Washington State Department of Financial Institutions (DFI) received a complaint of what appears to be an advance fee scam.
Recently, a Washington State consumer applied for a consumer loan through Minkowski Finance Group. This entity required that the consumer pay three payments upfront prior to receiving the loan. The consumer provided payments totaling $487.00 but did not receive the promised loan. Subsequently, Minkowski Finance Group requested additional payments and the consumer refused. When the consumer requested a refund of funds provided to Minkowski Finance Group, he was continuously told that the payment would be deposited into his account, but the refund was never processed. It appears that Minkowski Finance Group is engaging in fraudulent activity or otherwise violating Washington State law.
The following contact information has been associated with this apparent scam:
Representative: Brandon Baxter
Address: 98 Battery St Suite 405
San Francisco, CA
Minkowski Finance Group is not licensed with the Department of Financial Institutions to make loans in Washington State.
DFI cautions that unlicensed entities often engage in certain practices that indicate they are committing a fraud or otherwise violating Washington State law. For instance, such entities often require advance fees or personal information. Such entities often use non-business email addresses (such as @gmail.com, @yahoo.com, or other similar easily obtained email addresses) to send correspondence, threaten legal or criminal action if consumers do not reply immediately, or contain a variety of typographical and spelling errors in their correspondence to consumers.
In all circumstances, DFI also strongly suggests verifying the business licensee of entity prior to engaging in lending activity such as obtaining a loan.
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.
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.