Internet Car Title Loans: a Tribe

By | Jan 19, 2015

Alleged Facts

20. Ms. Bynon is the owner of a 2008 Ford F150 Lariat Supercrew worth over $20,000. Exhibit P-7.

21. The vehicle was titled, registered, and licensed in Pennsylvania.

22. Ms. Bynon keeps the vehicle at her personal residence in Pennsylvania.

23. In 2013, Sovereign operated a web site under the fictitious name Title Loan America, from which it made title loans to residents of Pennsylvania at triple digit interest rates. Exhibit P-6.

24. During the month of March, 2013, Sovereign purports to have lent Ms. Bynon $2,500 at or about an annual interest rate of 180%.

25. Ms. Bynon entered into the loan transaction from a her computer at her home within the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

26. The car title loan was supposedly memorialized by a written contract, but Sovereign did Continue Reading >>

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Scott Tucker, AMG Payday Loan Law Suit Update

By | Jan 16, 2015

From the FTC:

AMG and MNE were defendants in an action against more than a dozen companies and corporate officers, alleging they violated the FTC Act, the Truth in Lending Act, and the Electronic Fund Transfer Act. MNE lent to consumers under the trade names Ameriloan, United Cash Loans, US Fast Cash, Advantage Cash Services, and Star Cash Processing. AMG serviced the loans.

According to the complaint, the defendants misrepresented how much loans would cost consumers and charged them undisclosed and inflated fees. Here just one example: The defendants’ contract said a $300 loan would cost consumers $390.  But what did people really have to shell out to repay the loan?  $975.

To settle the case, AMG and MNE will pay $21 million and will waive another $285 million in… Read More Here.

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Car Title Loan Reposessions

By | Jan 14, 2015

Continuing series: Car Title Loan Business. (Repossessions from the borrower’s perspective.)

Behind on your title loan payment? Your lender can take your car.  This is called “vehicle repossession.”

What can I do if I am behind on my payments?

If you are having trouble making your monthly title loan payment:

  • Talk to your car title lender immediately. Communications are the key to avoiding a repo.
  • Try to buy some time. Explain your situation – honestly. Lost job, cut-back hours, medical expense…
  • Sell your car. You’ll get more money selling it yourself than allowing the title loan company to sell it at an auction. You’ll have to coordinate this with your lender because they have your title.

Must the car title loan business tell me they are going to take my car?

No. The title loan company does not have to tell you in advance that they are going to take your car.

How do I retrieve my car from the repo company?

  1. Make sure your car was repossessed. Call your local police department to check.
  2. Call your title lender. You may have to catch-up or pay the entire loan balance. This is unlikely IF you communicate. Your lender DOES NOT want your car. They simply want their money AND know that you’re willing to communicate with them.
  3. You’ll have to pay repossession and storage fees.

How do I get back my stuff in my car?

Depends on the state/province you’re in. GENERALLY, within 48 hours from the time they take your car, the repossession company must send you a list of the things in your car and tell you how to get them back. You will have to pay storage fees to the repossession agent. If you do not pick them up within 60 days, the repo company can dispose of your stuff.

What notices should I receive?

Within 60 days after they repossess the car and at least 15 days before your car is sold, your title lender must send you a document called “Notice of Intent to Sell Vehicle” with this information:

  • That they will sell your car after 15 days from the date they mailed or gave you notice.
  • How much you have to pay to get your car back before they sell it.  If the notice says you have to pay in full, it has to tell you why.
  • Where to make payment and pick up your car.
  • That you have the right to delay the sale of your car for 10 days if you make a written request. The notice must have a form you can fill out and send back to request the extension. (Do this if you need more time to pay the fees to get your car back!)
  • That you will owe them money if the car sells for less than the total amount due.
  • If you don’t take action and your car is sold, you have the right to ask your title lender in writing, how much they sold the car for, and how much it cost them to sell it.

Can your car title lender refuse to return my car?

The loan company can refuse to return your car, unless you pay the full balance, if any of the following has happened:

  • You lied on your credit application.
  • You hid the car to avoid repossession, or threatened the repossessor.
  • You trashed the car, threatened to destroy it, or used it to commit a crime.
  • This is the second time your car has been repossessed in the last 12 months.
  • This is the third time your car has been repossessed since you bought it.

What happens after the vehicle is sold?

You may get a letter from the title lender with an itemized bill for what you may owe under the contract plus fees, with a credit for what the vehicle was sold for. You can ask for this itemized statement up to one year after the sale. The lender has 45 days to send this to you.

Starting a Car Title Loan Business? Get the “Bible: How to Start a Car Title Loan Business!”

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Payday Loan Scum Bag Collectors

By | Jan 10, 2015
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Car Title & PDL Training

Payday loan scum Bags Stealing from Legitimate Licensed Payday Loan lenders

Payday loan lender Advance America is pissed off about unscrupulous call center bill collectors calling borrowers, posing as employees of Advance America and threatening these borrowers with jail time if they don’t pay up quick!

These call center scammers gain access to lists of consumers at black listed websites; often gaining employer, bank account and social security information. Then, it’s simply a matter of dialing for dollars.

“This is Bobby at Advance America. I need you to wire me $300 immediately of you will be arrested and jailed.”

These scumbags often use the names of well known payday loan companies like Advance America to create a sense of legitimacy in the mind of the borrower.

Borrowers who suspect they are being “had” by these scumbags” should visit: http://www.onlinelendersalliance.org/default.asp?page=OLASeal and report any suspicious activity. OLA will attempt to help you.

Tips from OLA for borrowers:

  • Never borrow more than you can afford.
  • Avoid taking out loans with multiple lenders.
  • Get the most bang for your buck.
  • Always remember the website you got your online, short-term loan from.
  • Keep any paperwork, emails, contacts and other information you receive from a short-term lending company.
  • Don’t submit personal information, such as your Social Security number, to companies that are not OLA members.
  • Get credit counseling help.
  • Know who to contact if you think you’re being harassed by illegitimate debt collectors.
  • More Consumer Resources
  • OLA Consumer Hotline
  • Have an issue with a fraudulent lender? Call the OLA Consumer Hotline at 1-866-299-7585 and speak with a live operator who can assist you in reporting fraud and navigating the online lending landscape.
  • Report Fraudulent Debt Collectors Online

“We are very concerned about protecting consumers. Scam artists pretending to be legitimate debt collectors or law enforcement officials are terrorizing consumers, causing unsuspecting victims to lose thousands of dollars. These actions are in direct violation of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. OLA has been working with federal, state and local agencies in an attempt to bring these individuals to justice, but we need your help!”

Report fraudulent behavior here: OLA Helpline

Warning Signs Your dealing With a Scum Bag Scammer

Learn the signs of a scam

Debt collectors cannot be abusive, unfair or deceptive in trying to collect a debt. Debt collectors cannot threaten consumers with arrest or jail time if they don’t pay their bill. If someone claims you will face criminal prosecution unless you immediately wire them money, you’re taking to a scumbag collector.

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.

How to Avoid Scams:

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.”
  • 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.

Are you a payday loan lender? Get help running your business here: Payday Loan Bible

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FTC Charges Payday Broker LeapLab & Ideal Financial with Theft of Millions from Consumers’ Accounts

By | Dec 23, 2014

Post from the Federal Trade Commission:

FTC Charges Data Broker with Facilitating the Theft of Millions of Dollars from Consumers’ Accounts Company Sold Personal Financial Information to Scammers.

A data broker operation sold the sensitive personal information of hundreds of thousands of consumers – including Social Security and bank account numbers – to scammers who allegedly debited millions from their accounts, the Federal Trade Commission charged in a complaint filed today.

According to the FTC’s complaint, data broker LeapLab bought payday loan applications of financially strapped consumers, and then sold that information to marketers whom it knew had no legitimate need for it. At least one of those marketers, Ideal Financial Solutions – a defendant in another FTC case – allegedly used the information to withdraw millions of dollars from consumers’ accounts without their authorization.

“This case shows that the illegitimate use of sensitive financial information causes real harm to consumers,” said Jessica Rich, Director of the Federal Trade Commission’s Bureau of Consumer Protection. “Defendants like those in this case harm consumers twice: first by facilitating the theft of their money and second by undermining consumers’ confidence about providing their personal information to legitimate lenders.”

The defendants collected hundreds of thousands of payday loan applications from payday loan websites known as publishers. Publishers typically offer to help consumers obtain payday loans. To do so, they ask for consumers’ sensitive financial information to evaluate their loan applications and transfer funds to their bank accounts if the loan is approved. These applications, including those bought and sold by LeapLab, contained the consumer’s name, address, phone number, employer, Social Security number, and bank account number, including the bank routing number.

The defendants sold approximately five percent of these loan applications to online lenders, who paid them between $10 and $150 per lead. According to the FTC’s complaint, however, the defendants sold the remaining 95 percent for approximately $0.50 each to third parties who were not online lenders and had no legitimate need for this financial information.

The Commission’s complaint alleges that these non-lender third parties included: marketers that made unsolicited sales offers to consumers via email, text message, or telephone call; data brokers that aggregated and then resold consumer information; and phony internet merchants like Ideal Financial Solutions. According to the FTC’s complaint, the defendants had reason to believe these marketers had no legitimate need for the sensitive information they were selling.

In the FTC’s case against Ideal Financial Solutions, between 2009 and 2013, Ideal Financial allegedly purchased information on at least 2.2 million consumers from data brokers and used it to make millions of dollars in unauthorized debits and charges for purported financial products that the consumers never purchased. LeapLab provided account information for at least 16 percent these victims.

The complaint notes that LeapLab hired a key executive from Ideal Financial as its own Chief Marketing Officer and then knew that Ideal used the information purchased from it to make unauthorized debits. Yet, the complaint alleges, the defendants continued to sell such information to Ideal.

The defendants in the case, Sitesearch Corp., LeapLab LLC; Leads Company LLC; and John Ayers, are alleged to have violated the FTC Act’s prohibition on unfair practices.

The Commission vote authorizing the staff to file the complaint was 5-0. The complaint was filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona, Phoenix Division.

NOTE: The Commission files a complaint when it has “reason to believe” that the law has been or is being violated and it appears to the Commission that a proceeding is in the public interest. The case will be decided by the court.

The Federal Trade Commission works for consumers to prevent fraudulent, deceptive, and unfair business practices and to provide information to help spot, stop, and avoid them. To file a complaint in English or Spanish, visit the FTC’s online Complaint Assistant or call 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357). The FTC enters complaints into Consumer Sentinel, a secure, online database available to more than 2,000 civil and criminal law enforcement agencies in the U.S. and abroad. The FTC’s website provides free information on a variety of consumer topics. Like the FTC on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, and subscribe to press releases for the latest FTC news and resources.

Contact Information
MEDIA CONTACT:
Jay Mayfield
Office of Public Affairs
202-326-2181

STAFF CONTACT:
James Kohm
Bureau of Consumer Protection
202-326-2640

Original FTC Filing

FTC v. Sitesearch Corporation, Doing Business As LeapLab

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