Consumers have been warned by the Washington State Department of Financial Institutions
(DFI) to verify the license of the lender before taking a payday loan or providing personal information.
The DFI received a complaint about lenders calling frequently at odd hours and threatening borrowers with legal action. They claimed that they were not subject to the DFI’s regulations because they were tribal online payday lenders. They said they were only subject to federal government regulations.
As the lenders were not licensed by the DFI, they were not permitted to do business in Washington State. A small loan provided by an unlicensed entity to a person who is physically located in Washington cannot be enforced or collected in Washington State.
How to verify a lender’s license
The DFI strongly recommends that before taking a loan you need to verify the license of the lender at www.dfi.wa.gov/consumers/findcompany.htm.
Report loan scams
If you are a resident of Washington State, you can report a payday loan scam at 1-877-RING DFI (746-4334) or at www.dfi.wa.gov. If you live in another state, you can follow this link to search for your state’s regulator:
You can report a payday loan scam to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) at 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357) or at www.ftc.gov. You can also contact the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) at (855) 411-CFPB (2372) or at www.consumerfinance.gov.
If you have provided personal information to scammers, you need to take suitable precautions. You will find more information about identity theft at www.ftc.gov.
You can report a loan scam that involves the Internet to the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center at www.ic3.gov.
If you are the victim of a loan scam and are worried your personal financial details being misused, you need to contact your bank and the three main credit bureaus.
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