The Washington State Department of Financial Institutions (DFI) warns consumers to verify that any lender they consider doing business with has a license to make loans in Washington State. DFI urges consumers to verify licensing status before giving lenders nonpublic personal information (like social security and checking account numbers).
A group calling itself “Lending Expo USA” appears to be operating an advanced fee loan scam. A Washington State consumer reports that Lending Expo USA offered her a $70,000 loan in exchange for an advanced fee. The consumer paid the fee and Lending Expo USA then demanded payment for additional fees. This cycle continued until the consumer paid nearly $14,000 in advance fees. In the end, the consumer did not receive the promised loan or a refund. The consumer advises that she located Lending Expo USA online. It appears that Lending Expo USA may be targeting distressed homeowners.
Lending Expo USA may be using the e-mail address firstname.lastname@example.org and may be advertising online. A phone number associated with Lending Expo USA is 323-473-3122. DFI has no other identifying information for Lending Expo USA.
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.
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 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.