The Washington State Department of Financial Institutions (DFI) warns consumers to verify that any lender with which they consider doing business holds a Washington State license for providing loans. Consumers are urged to verify licensing status prior to giving the lender nonpublic personal information, such as social security number and checking account access.
DFI received a complaint for what appears to be an advanced fee loan scam. The consumer reported that she used an online lender portal “Personal Money Network” and was reportedly approved for $5,000.00 loan. The consumer informed the lender that she only needed a $2,500.00. The lender then told her she would need to provide “proof” that she could repay the loan by sending the lender $120.00 via MoneyGram. Though the consumer complied, the lender required several additional payments, and subsequently did not provide the loan amount. The lender also threatened to prosecute the consumer for “failing to pay her taxes” if she failed to provide additional funds. The consumer received paperwork from “Personal Money Network,” which appears to have contained a doctored company logo from personalmoneynetwork.com.
Previously, DFI received a complaint where a consumer received unsolicited phone call from someone from Easy Loans, claiming an association with Personal Money Network and Adworkz. The consumer was told he was approved for a $5000.00 loan, but would need to provide cash in advance to improve his credit score and the terms of the loan. After providing the cash amount, the consumer did not receive the loan and was not refunded the money he advanced for purposes of obtaining the loan.
Easy Loan is not licensed with the Washington State Department of Financial Institutions to make loans. They are not registered to do business in Washington by either the Department of Revenue or the Secretary of State. Adworkz, Inc. d/b/a Personal Money Network is a registered company, and appears to have no affiliation with Easy Loan. Adworkz d/b/a Personal Money Network reported to DFI that it has notified relevant law enforcement agencies of the debt collection scam.
The following contact information is associated with Easy Loan.
Names: Fenny Oscar
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 atwww.dfi.wa.gov/consumers/findcompany.htm.
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.
Categories: CONSUMER alert