Alert updated: 01/04/2016
Originally posted: 10/01/2012
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 payday loan services. 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 has received complaints regarding a company or individual identified as Shawn Clark. Washington State consumers reported that the individual offered a loan amount if the Washington State consumer provided an advance payment of $239.00, to insure the full loan amount of $5,000.00. After this sum was provided by the consumer, the loan amount was not forthcoming.
The telephone number associated with the unlicensed entities described above is: 206-452-3615
DFI identified that the number is operated by Skype Communications SA, and likely through a Voice over Internet Provider (VoIP). Unlicensed entities often employ services such as VoIP to perpetuate a fraud due to the difficulty in identifying the location of the individual utilizing the phone number.
This phone number seems linked with previous fraudulent activity that DFI identified:
For instance, DFI received a tip that someone calling from this number was attempting to collect on non-existent debts. The consumer refused to the give any financial information or funds to the caller, and relied on a previously consumer alert to avoid harm.
DFI also received complaints regarding a company identified as Advance Payday Loan. Washington consumers have reported they were provided with a purported business address for Advance Payday Loan at the Seattle Municipal Tower, which is located at 700 Fifth Avenue in Seattle, Washington. The Department has verified that the occupants of the Seattle Municipal Tower do not include any business using the name of Advance Payday Loan.
The phone numbers associated with Advance Payday Loan include 360-483-5116, 360-483-5106, and 206-452-3600. A website associated with this company has been identified as www.2000loans.net. The Department has no other contact information.
DFI also received a complaint from a consumer who was the target of an advance fee loan scam by individuals claiming to be representatives of Advance Loans. After the consumer applied for a loan online, a representative offered the consumer a $10,000 loan if the consumer first paid an advance fee of $480. After the consumer paid the fee, the representative demanded additional fees. The consumer never received a loan or refund. The phone number associated with this apparent scam is 206-452-3615. A representative identified the company’s business address as 91 S. Jackson St. in Seattle, Washington, which appears to be a post office.
These companies are not licensed by DFI to provide loans, and are not registered to conduct business in Washington State by the Department of Revenue or the Secretary of State. Washington residents are advised that state law provides in RCW 31.45.105(1)(d) and (3) that a small loan made by an unlicensed entity to a person physically located in Washington is uncollectible and unenforceable in Washington 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 Department’s website at www.dfi.wa.gov.
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 382-4357 (1-877-FTC HELP), or online at www.ftc.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.
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; or contact the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (855) 411-CFPB (2372) or online at www.consumerfinance.gov. 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.
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.
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.