US National Bank fraud, payday loan, apology letter, threatening, money laundering Southern California nationwide
I received a phone call at 8:43pm last night, July 30, 2008, from a man with a heavy accent who asked for me by name. I said that it was I, and he launched immediately into a speech about how I owed money from a payday loan I had taken out on the Internet.
He said that when the company, which he called U.S. National Bank, had tried to EFT the money I owed out of my account, it wasn't there and that I owed it now. He said that if I didn't pay by 11am the next day, he would turn it over to his investigators and I would be taken to court on all sorts of charges including money laundering.
When I said that I was not aware of owing money to any company of this nature, he proceeded to read off my entire checking account number, the last four digits of my SSN, and my address. I had taken payday loans in the past but they were always paid back immediately, and I would know if I had anything outstanding. My finances are in pretty good shape at this point and I keep very good track of the little that I do owe at this point to various legitimate credit cards, student loans, etc.
He also read the name of two people I had used as references back when I took out my payday loans. This leads me to believe that one of these companies sold my information at some point. I was very flustered and did not get the first guy's name, in fact I yelled at him that I didn't know what he was talking about and I hung up. He called back immediately and asked why I had hung up on him. He told me that I better cooperate if I did not want bad things to happen to me legally and he sent me to his restitution guy, who said his name was Shane Stephens.
Shane said I needed to pay something now and fax an apology letter first thing in the morning for my financial slip-up. He basically called me a liar the whole time and said that they would make an example of me. I asked why I'd gotten nothing in writing and he said that 13 emails had been sent to me about it but I had chosen to ignore them. He read off my email address to me. I later checked my email including my spam folder and found nothing.
I was scared and stupidly gave him a credit card number and told him to take $100 and I'd be faxing the apology letter in the morning. Then I got off the phone, googled the little information I'd been able to get from him, and found a whole list of victims who had written in on ripoffreport.com who had strikingly similar stories to mine, all of which happened in the past couple of weeks. One guy was even called that morning and asked for the exact same amount of money, $1031!
I cancelled the credit card I'd given them immediately. So far I have been in contact with my local police department but the officer I have been recommended to speak with will not be in until 4pm so I will file a report then. I put a 90-day fraud alert on my SSN with the 3 credit reporting agencies, filed an online complaint with my State Attorney General office, and plan on changing my checking account number tomorrow.
I also checked my credit report and found nothing amiss at this time, reported it online to the FTC, and also to ic3, which is the FBI's internet fraud division. I spoke with a lawyer who said this sounds like a common scam and he can try to sue them for me if I wish to pursue it. I don't want to at this time.
I just now received another call from them asking why I had not faxed the apology letter. I told them I believed they were a scam and was in the process of reporting them. I ran down the list of the different agencies I had reported them to. The man talked over me, told me to listen to what he had to say, and I talked over him. He told me that my state Attorney General's office would be coming to get me. I told him not to call me anymore and hung up. The various numbers they've called from are: 310-562-2145, 352-636-6339, I was given 310-405-6167 as a callback #, and fax# 949-682-4841.