Alert Number: CA046840_8/8/17(8/18)
The Washington State Department of Financial Institutions warns consumers to verify the license of any lending professional they are considering doing business with to avoid becoming victims of potential scams. It has been reported that a Washington State consumer was contacted and told he was approved for a loan. However, he had to first send verification funds that needed to be sent via an iTunes gift card. No loan was provided and the consumer did not receive a refund. It appears that Capitol Finance may be conducting an advance fee loan scam. No address information was provided to the consumer, other than the company was alleged to be located in Jacksonville, Florida. The consumer provided the following telephone numbers alleged to be associated with the company:
The Department is only reporting these allegations and has been unable to verify the information as belonging to Capitol Finance.
Capitol Finance is not licensed by DFI and is not registered to conduct business in Washington by the Department of Licensing, Department of Revenue, or the Secretary of State. DFI warns Washington consumers that when considering doing business with a financial service provider the consumer can:
- Make sure that the entity is licensed. Consumers can use the “Verify a License” feature on DFI’s website at www.dfi.wa.gov to check whether a payday or consumer loan company is licensed to conduct business in the state of Washington.
- Never provide any personal information, such as social security number or bank account number or access if the company is not licensed or authorized to conduct business.
Important Information for Washington Consumers About Unlicensed Lenders
Washington State residents are informed that Washington State law provides in RCW 31.04.035 that fees or interest charged in the making of a nonresidential loan by an unlicensed lender must be refunded to the borrower. For a residential mortgage loan, an unlicensed lender must refund any non-third-party fees charged in connection with the origination (excluding interest charges).
Washington residents only: If you suspect unlicensed activity by a payday lender or consumer loan company, please contact the Department at 1-877-RING-DFI (746-4334), or online at www.dfi.wa.gov. Even if the activity involves a loan you obtained over the internet, a license is generally still required. If a collection agency is attempting to collect a debt from you, you can check whether the company is licensed by the State of Washington Department of Licensing.
Collection activities by payday lenders in the State of Washington are subject to RCW 31.45.082, which limits the time, place, and manner by which a payday lender may collect a debt. Payday lenders must also provide borrowers with an installment plan if the borrower is not able to pay the small loan back when it is due.
Important Information For All Consumers
- If you received a loan from a lender and someone else is now attempting to collect the loan, collection activity may be subject to the federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA). If you are contacted by a third party claiming you owe a debt, you can request a “written validation notice,” which must provide the amount of the debt, the name of the creditor you owe, and your rights under the FDCPA. If you have questions regarding federal debt collection laws you can contact the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) at 1-877-FTC-HELP or online at www.ftc.gov(link is external).
- If you feel you have been the victim of a scam you can contact the FTC at 1-877-FTC-HELP (382-4357) or online at www.ftc.gov(link is external); or the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) at 1-855-411-CFPB (2372) or online at www.consumerfinance.gov(link is external).
- If the scammers already have your bank account information, social security number, or other personal information, you may be a victim of identity theft. You can contact your bank and the three major credit bureaus to take appropriate precautions. The FTC has information for victims of identity theft online at www.ftc.gov(link is external).
- If you feel you have been the victim of a scam involving the internet you can contact the Internet Crime Complaint Center online at www.ic3.gov(link is external).
- If you feel you have been the victim of a financial scam and are concerned about your personal financial information, you can contact your banking institution and the three major credit bureaus. Procedures for contacting the credit bureaus are available on the FTC’s website at www.ftc.gov(link is external).
- If you live in another state, go to this webpage to find the regulator in your home state. http://mortgage.nationwidelicensingsystem.org/consumer/Pages/AgencyContacts.aspx(link is external).