03-24-2017  5:07 pm      •     
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fraud alert signs

The Washington State Department of Financial Institutions (DFI) has received a complaint of what appears to be a debt collection scam.

The consumer reported receiving threatening calls from a company claiming to be “GM & Associates.” GM & Associates threatened to garnish the consumer’s wages if the consumer did not pay on an alleged debt with Riverside Financial. The consumer requested proof of the debt but GM & Associates refused to provide any. The consumer reported never obtaining a loan with Riverside Financial.

DFI warns consumers to never give any nonpublic person information, such as social security number, credit card, or bank account information to any individual, website, or company without first verifying their identity and license status. Consumers can determine whether a financial services company or individual is properly licensed to conduct business in the State of Washington by using the “Verify a License” feature on the DFI’s website at www.dfi.wa.gov. Consumers can also check license status with the Department of Licensing at www.dol.wa.gov.

GM & Associates is not licensed by DFI. They are also not licensed as collection agency by the Washington State Department of Licensing.

If you received a loan from a lender or owed money to a business and someone other than the lender or business is now attempting to collect from you, the collection activity may be subject to the federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA). If you receive a communication from a party claiming that a debt is owed, you should request a “written validation notice,” which must include the amount of the debt, the name of the creditor you owe, and your rights under the FDCPA. If you have questions regarding debt collection laws, contact the Federal Trade Commission at 1-877-FTC-HELP, or online at www.ftc.gov.

If someone threatens to garnish your wages, contact your employer, or uses threatening, intimidating, or offensive language, report such actions to state and federal regulators. See below for how to contact the appropriate state and federal regulator.

Washington State residents only: If you suspect illegal or fraudulent activity involving a financial product or service, please contact the Department at 1-877-RING-DFI (746-4334), or online at www.dfi.wa.gov.

If you feel you have been the victim of a 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. You may also wish to contact the Office of the Attorney general at www.atg.wa.gov.

If you feel you have been the victim of a scam involving the internet please contact the Internet Crime Complaint Center online at www.ic3.gov.

If you live in another state, go to this webpage to find the regulator in your home state.

If you feel you have been the victim of a financial scam and are concerned about your personal financial information, contact your banking institution and the three major credit bureaus. Procedures for contacting the credit bureaus are available on the FTC’s website at www.ftc.gov.

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