Consumer Alerts - 2017

  • Holiday season brings increased cybersecurity risk (11/21/17)

    The California Department of Business Oversight would like to remind consumers that the holiday season brings a higher than normal risk when it comes to cybersecurity. With increases in online shopping and charitable giving during this time, criminals are working harder to exploit unaware Internet users. To better protect yourself, keep a few tips in mind:

    • Be aware of “phishing” attempts.  Criminals seeking to steal your credit card information use emails, text messages, and social media advertisements to tempt you with special holiday sales, leading you to unsecure websites.  Always check the address of a website before entering any personal information, and if you find yourself questioning whether a site is legitimate, it’s best to play it safe and look for a deal elsewhere. 
    • When shopping from a home computer, make sure your Internet browser is updated to the newest version.  Use strong passwords that include a mixture of letters, numbers, and special characters.  It’s a smart idea to use a different password for each website logon.
    • Always check for https:// at the beginning of a site address to confirm that your information is being transmitted securely, and look for a padlock icon in or near the address bar. You can click on that padlock for more information about the site’s security.
    • Sadly, criminals often target people who want to donate to charities.  They create websites that can look exactly like legitimate charity sites and are set up to steal your personal information.  Doing some research before you give, confirming that the site address is correct, and sticking to known and trusted organizations can help keep your payment information safe and ensure your money goes where you want it to.
    • Be cautious with shipping and delivery emails.  Fake tracking notifications are a common threat, and are even more widely used during the holidays.  Never download a file that an email says will allow you to track or claim a package – you could be exposing your computer to malicious software.  Legitimate shipment emails will direct you to use the shipper’s secure website.

  • National Veterans and Military Family Month

    November is “National Veterans and Military Family Month.” Since 1993, the month of November has been an opportunity to honor the commitment, sacrifice, dedication and service of military members and their families who give so much to the service of our nation. For the Presidential Proclamation, visit https://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2017/11/01/president-donald-j-trump-proclaims-november-2017-national-veterans-and. For resources on education, employment, housing, legal and financial support, visit the U.S. Department of Defense Family Support webpage https://www.defense.gov/News/Special-Reports/1117_familysupport/. For information for the military community to help them make smart financial decisions, avoid predatory lending and protect themselves from financial fraud and scams, visit http://www.dbo.ca.gov/Consumers/TAPS/Pubs/Default.asp.

  • SAFE-BIDCO contact and claims information (10/25/17)

    On September 18, 2017, the Commissioner of Business Oversight took possession of the property and business of the State Assistance Fund for Enterprise, Business and Development Corporation, or SAFE-BIDCO, pursuant to Financial Code section 592.  On the same day, the Commissioner appointed Robb Evans as a special deputy commissioner for the purpose of liquidating SAFE-BIDCO’s assets, discharging its liabilities, and winding down its operations.  If you have an ongoing relationship with SAFE-BIDCO (e.g., as a borrower, lender, or recipient of loan servicing or underwriting services), and you need to contact the special deputy commissioner, please visit the Web site of Robb Evans & Associates at https://www.robbevans.com. If you have claims against the property or business of SAFE-BIDCO, please view legal documents concerning your rights and remedies located at https://www.robbevans.com/find-a-case/casepage/state-assistance-fund-for-enterprise-business-and-industrial-development-corporation.

  • Entity fraudulently purporting to be “Pacific Premium Finance, Inc.” a licensed Premium Finance Company (10/12/17)

    The Department of Business Oversight (DBO) has been notified of an entity purporting to be a licensed Premium Finance Company using the DBO licensee’s name “Pacific Premium Finance, Inc.” (or “PP Finance Inc.”). The fraudulent loan documents show the DBO licensee’s name, address and iconography, but have the unlicensed phone number 213-908-2673, fax number 213-908-2153 and the email address “ppfinanceinc@yandex.com”.

    The DBO urges consumers to exercise extreme caution before responding to any solicitation promoting loans or other offers. To check whether a financial service provider is licensed in California, or to file a complaint, consumers should go to the DBO website or call 1-866-275-2677. If you need to contact the DBO licensee, Pacific Premium Finance, Inc. please call Director of Operations, Carol Manson at (314) 682-0017.

  • Alex Copper, Alex Cooper, Prosper Marketplace, Prosper Loans fraudulently purporting to be lender Prosper Marketplace (09/28/2017)

    Recipients have notified the Department of Business Oversight (DBO) of unsolicited email being sent by someone using the names Alex Copper and Alex Cooper, and the company name and icon of lending company Prosper Marketplace, which the email says is also known as “Prosper Loans.”  The paperwork and email show phone number “(786) 320-8412(Ext-27006)” and the email address prosper.marketplace.service@gmail.com. The real Prosper Marketplace, a DBO licensee also known as Prosper Funding, is at www.prosper.com.

    The DBO urges consumers to exercise extreme caution before responding to any solicitation promoting loans or other offers. To check whether a financial service provider is licensed in California, or to file a complaint, consumers should go to the DBO website (lender licensee lookup at https://docqnet.dbo.ca.gov/licensesearch/) or call 1-866-275-2677. 

  • “Capital Source Finance,” “Kenneth Turner,” “John Collier” and “Matt Daniels” purporting to be a division of Pacific Western Bank (09/22/17)

    The Department of Business Oversight (DBO) has been notified of a company, “Capital Source Finance,” and individuals Kenneth Turner, John Collier and Matt Daniels purporting to be a division of Pacific Western Bank. 

    The company and these individuals are using the address 9701 Wilshire Blvd. #700, Beverly Hills, CA 91212 (which is an address for DBO licensee Pacific Western Bank), phone number 619-663-6702, and fax number 708-416-0639 (a Chicago area code).

    They are offering to sell timeshare properties, and provide related escrow services.  They hold no license with the DBO, and are not a division of the DBO licensee named above.

    To check whether a financial service provider is licensed by the DBO, or to file a complaint, go to the DBO website at www.dbo.ca.gov or call 1-866-275-2677.

  • Pacific Credit Union, aka PCU Express of California, LLC, falsely claims to be DBO Licensee (09/21/17)

    The Department of Business Oversight (DBO) has been notified that a company using the names “Pacific Credit Union” and “PCU Express of California, LLC” at pcuexpress.com, is falsely claiming to be licensed by the DBO. The website states that “PCU EXPRESSOF CALIFORNIA, LLC, doing business as PCUEXPRESS.COM, is licensed by the Commissioner of Business Oversight (California Finance Lenders License No. 603H010 and California Deferred Deposit Originator License No. 1003271.)”
    Those DBO licenses belong to another company that is unrelated to Pacific Credit Union or PCU Express. To check whether a financial service provider is licensed to do business in California, or to file a complaint, consumers should go to the DBO website at http://www.dbo.ca.gov/FSD/Licensees/default.asp, or call 1-866-275-2677.

  • More than 15 million Californians affected by Equifax hack (9-13-17)

    Commissioner of Business Oversight Jan Lynn Owen today urged all Californians to check immediately and take protective measures if they are among those who personal information may have been compromised in the massive Equifax data breach.

    Equifax, a credit reporting company, disclosed on September 7 that criminal hackers gained access to personal information – names, Social Security numbers, credit card numbers, birth dates, addresses, and in some cases, driver license numbers – of 143 million U.S. consumers, including more than 15 million Californians.

    “This is a real threat to anyone whose personal information has been stolen,” Commissioner Owen said. “The exposure is ongoing and indefinite. The hackers can sell the information whenever they like – today, tomorrow or months from now. The potential for harm from this breach will have a long shelf life.”

    To check whether you may have been impacted by the Equifax data breach, go to https://www.equifaxsecurity2017.com/potential-impact/. (This link takes you away from our site. Equifaxsecurity2017.com is not controlled by the DBO.) Equifax is offering free credit file monitoring and identity theft protection to all U.S. consumers, available through the dedicated website. For more information, see the Department of Business Oversight’s release.

  • James A. Reeves, dba JamesReeves Loan Service LLC, fraudulently purporting to hold DBO license (09/07/2017)

    The Department of Business Oversight (DBO) has been notified of Craigslist ads being run by an individual, James A. Reeves, or James Reeves dba “JamesReeves Loan Service LLC” (James Reeves Loan Service, JamesReeves Financial Services).  These ads and follow-up emails read, in part:  Financial Angel Needed (Capital Region).  I am looking for a financial angel to assist in several ventures that I am undertaking in the next week. Able to repay after four years. Willing to negotiate terms and interest rate (no more than 8%).”

    Those who respond to the advertisement have been sent a fraudulently altered copy of a DBO license, which shows the license number “6ODBO 36069” and address, “14121 ENFIELD CIR WESTMINSTER CA.”  There is no license for this address, and the DBO Lender License 60DBO-39069 (second digit a zero, not an “o”) belongs to “Advance America, Cash Advance Centers of California, LLC.” James Reeves and his company hold no licenses from the DBO.

    The DBO urges consumers to exercise extreme caution before responding to any solicitation promoting loans or other offers. To check whether a financial service provider is licensed in California, or to file a complaint, consumers should go to the DBO website (lender licensee lookup at https://docqnet.dbo.ca.gov/licensesearch/) or call 1-866-275-2677.

  • Vanguard Group LLC” fraudulently purporting to be well-known securities broker Vanguard (07/10/17)

    The DBO has been notified that a company – using the names “Vanguard Group LLC” and “Advantage fin,” the websites vanguardfinancialdirectla.com and vanguardbrokeragellc.com (currently defunct), the email customeraccounts@advantagefin.com, and the address 12100 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles – is claiming to be licensed by the DBO and is using the icon and name of well-known securities broker Vanguard.

    The long-established Vanguard holds many licenses with DBO and other state and national regulators. 

    The “Vanguard Group LLC” appears to be a scam, and not affiliated with the known and licensed Vanguard.  Please beware.  DBO encourages you to check with the known Vanguard at www.vanguard.com before doing business with any companies appearing to be related.

    Consumers also can check on the licensing status of broker-dealers by visiting the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority’s (FINRA’s) online broker check at http://brokercheck.finra.org, or calling the DBO’s Consumer Services Office at (866) 275-2677.

  • “Frank Oliviera,” “America Trust Escrow” and “Oakwood Escrows” Falsely Claim to be DBO Licensees in Fraudulent Craigslist Ads (6/27/17)

    The Department of Business Oversight (DBO) has been notified of an individual, “Frank Oliviera” doing business as several companies falsely claiming to be DBO escrow licensees “Oakwood Escrow Inc.” and “American Trust Escrow.”

    The perpetrators are using the names “America Trust Escrow,” “Oakwood Escrows,” “Oakwood Escrow Management,” “Oakwood Escrow Finances,” “Frank Oliviera,” “Frank Oliveri,” “Pablo B. Vazquez” and “Pablo Burgara Vazquez.”  They also are using the email addresses “agent231@oakwoodescrows.com” and “noreply@oakwoodescrows.com.”

    These individuals or entities post Craigslist ads offering rental properties in states across the country including Ohio, California, Hawaii and Indiana.  When a potential victim responds, they are asked for personal information and to send an up-front payment.  These individuals/entities are NOT licensed by the DBO.  The website advertised is NOT a valid website, and should not be confused with the legitimate DBO licensees’ websites: oakwoodescrow.com, atescrow.com and americantrustescrow.com

    The DBO encourages consumers to beware of any solicitations asking for advance fees, including these increasingly-common Craigslist rental property advance fee scams. 
    To check whether an escrow company or other financial service provider is licensed by the DBO, or to file a complaint, go to the DBO website at www.dbo.ca.gov or call 1-866-275-2677.

  • MOCO’ or ‘MOCO Credit of California’ Not Licensed by DBO (2/15/2017)

    The Department of Business Oversight (DBO) has been notified of an entity calling itself “MOCO” or “MOCO Credit of California” or “MOCO (dba Lending Street of California),” and a related Individual “Moses David” with email address mosesd234@gmail.com, who are offering loans to consumers, falsely claiming to hold a lender’s license with DBO.  The entities are also presenting falsified licensing documents with the DBO seal and staff signatures to pass themselves off to consumers as a legitimate lender.  None of these entities or individuals is licensed by the DBO.

    The DBO advises individuals who have received lending solicitations from any of these entities or persons to file a complaint with DBO.  Complaints may be filed online via the DBO website here: http://www.dbo.ca.gov/Consumers/consumer_services.asp