Washington State Department of Financial Institutions

Consumer Alert:
Debt Collection Scam Using Department of Justice Name

January 10, 2012

Washington consumers have reported that they have been contacted by individuals using the telephone number 202-506-8939 claiming that the Consumer owes money on an unpaid payday loan debt. During the telephone calls, the individuals have identified themselves as representatives of the “U.S. Department of Justice.” The Consumers have stated to DFI that they have been threatened in a variety of ways; including threats of jail-time, insulting and rude language and other actions that do not comply with federal requirements for third-party debt collection agents.

Efforts to obtain the identity of the individuals by contacting the telecommunications service provider were not successful.

DFI has no other leads regarding the identity or location of the perpetrators of this debt collection scam.

Report Fraud

If you feel you have been victimized by these individuals, and you reside in Washington State, you may file a complaint with the Washington State Department of Financial Institutions by contacting the Consumer Services Division at 360-902-8703, or by filing a complaint. Blank complaint forms are available at www.dfi.wa.gov/cs/complaint.htm.

These kinds of contacts should also be reported to federal law enforcement authorities. You may contact the Federal Bureau of Investigation online: www.fbi.gov or by telephone: (202) 324-3000. We also suggest contacting the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) online: www.ftc.gov or toll free: 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357).

Complainants have also had some success contacting their local telephone carrier’s nuisance department to stop calls.

If the caller has indicated they may know private information, such as your Social Security number, other account numbers, or contact information for work or other associates, you should take steps to protect yourself against identity theft. There is information on the FTC website about steps to take to protect yourself from identity theft, and what to do to protect yourself in the event you are a victim of identity theft. Visit the FTC website at www.ftc.gov.

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