Online Safety Notice

It is illegal in the United States, both federally and by state, for debt collectors to use unfair, deceptive, and abusive methods for debt collection. There are scammers, however, that ignore these laws and use threats of arrest and jail time to scare victims into paying debts they don't owe, or trick people into sending them money as part of the approval process for a fake payday loan.

Unfortunately, these are common schemes employed by fraudsters around the globe. They are often very convincing, especially when scammers use threats and intimidation and appear to have access to private peronal information. They also use the reputations of legitimate and well respected businesses, coupled with dire threats and scare tactics, to get what they want from victims.

Common signs of a scam

Federal law strictly regulates how real bill collectors and loan agents can do business. The federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) specifically prohibits debt collectors from being abusive, unfair or deceptive in trying to collect a debt. The law specifically says debt collectors cannot threaten you with arrest or jail time if you don’t pay their bill. If someone claims you will face criminal prosecution unless you immediately wire them money, it’s almost certainly a scam.

Scammers may also claim that you have been pre-approved for a loan, and then require you to purchase a prepaid debit card or wire money as a “processing fee” or “good faith deposit.” Others may really be identity thieves out to get your personal or financial information.

Protecting yourself from scammers

In addition to understanding how lenders and bill collectors can operate, consumers should also take steps to protect themselves, including:

  • Never give personal information such as your Social Security number or bank account information online or over the phone without verifying that you are working with a legitimate lender or bill collector. To verify, call the establishment back using a known number, such as the number listed on your statement or on the back of your credit/debit card.
  • Be suspicious of any email with urgent requests for personal financial information. If an email demands immediate action or makes upsetting or exciting false statements, it’s likely a scam.
  • Verify company licenses when applying for a loan online. Legitimate lenders will display state licenses on their websites to verify that they are full-service, licensed lenders complying with state and federal laws.
  • Never wire money or provide prepaid debit card information to a lender claiming you have been pre-approved for a loan and must make an initial payment as a “show of good faith.” Legitimate lenders do not offer approvals prior to application and do not require good faith deposits.
  • Keep anti-virus, anti-malware, and spam email protection software up to date on all your computing devices.
  • Maintain a record of all outstanding debt, and include lender contact information.
  • Regularly check your bank, credit and debit card statements to ensure there are no unauthorized transactions. Likewise, check your credit report (using Equifax, Experian, or TransUnion) every four months on a rotating basis; credit reports are often one of the first places where signs of identity theft or fraud will appear.
  • If someone approaches you claiming you owe them a debt, demand they provide written proof of the debt as the law requires – especially if it’s for a charge you don’t recognize.
  • If you suspect you’re being scammed, report it to local law enforcement and to the lender that the scammer claims to represent. customers can contact us. When reporting to, please try to include as much information as you can to help us investigate.

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