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Bureau of Financial Institutions

Information to Know

Know the Facts About Payday Loans

Payday loans are also called cash advance loans, paycheck advance loans or deferred presentment loans. You write a personal check made payable to the company who is loaning you the money for the amount you want to borrow plus a fee. The lender gives you the money, and you are told the number of weeks you have to repay the money. Interest rates for payday loans, if adjusted to an annual rate, range from 200% to over 500%! Such loans are intended to satisfy short-term financial needs and are not effective for long term use. Although the payday loan may be convenient, because of the high interest rate on these loans, consider a loan from a bank, a credit union, or a family member before obtaining a payday loan.

If you plan to use a payday lender, please make sure the company is properly licensed with the Bureau of Financial Institutions. A listing of licensed payday lenders can be found on the Bureau’s website.

Effective January 1, 2009, the Virginia Payday Loan Act was amended and information regarding the new law can also be found on the Bureau’s website.

Identity Theft

A new centralized government website on identity theft was launched April 23, 2007 as a result of a Task Force of several Federal agencies created by Executive Order. The new site provides consumers with recommendations on preventing identity theft as well as information to assist those consumers who have become identity theft victims. The new centralized government website on identity theft is http://www.idtheft.gov/ External Link logo

E-Mail Phishing Scams Circulate on the Internet

There are several different e-mail phishing scams circulating on the Internet in an attempt to gain sensitive financial and personal information.

What is phishing?

Phishing is a scam in which the attacker sends an e-mail disguised as a valid financial-related service provider. The e-mail will use tactics to scare a victim into visiting the malicious site. Once on the Website, which generally looks and feels much like the valid banking site, the victim is instructed to log in to his/her account and enter sensitive financial information such as bank PIN number, Social Security number, mother's maiden name, etc. This information is sent to the attacker who then uses it to engage in credit card fraud, bank fraud, and identity theft.

What can I do?

Don't be a victim. Consumers may call the SCC toll-free (in Virginia) at 1-800-552-7945 or in Richmond at (804) 371-9967 regarding matters involving securities, insurance, or financial institutions.

Consumer fraud complaints are also handled by the Office of the Attorney General at 1-800-552-9963.

Phishing e-mails that you receive should also be sent to the following email address: spam@uce.gov according to the Federal Trade Commission.

Virginia Telephone Privacy Act (unsolicited telemarketing calls)

The Virginia Telephone Privacy Protection Act (VTPPA)External Link logo, Virginia Code §§ 59.1-510 through 59.1-518, provides the following protections against unwanted telemarketing calls to Virginians:

  1. prohibits telephone solicitation calls at any time other than between 8:00 a.m. and 9:00 p.m.;
  2. requires telephone solicitors to identify themselves by first and last name and by the name of the company for which they are calling;
  3. requires telephone solicitors to transmit for caller identification services the number, and when available by the telephone solicitor’s carrier, the name of the telephone solicitor;
  4. prohibits telephone solicitors from intentionally blocking caller identification services;
  5. requires telephone solicitors to play a prerecorded identification message whenever a live sales representative is not available to speak with the person answering the call within two seconds of that person’s completed greeting;
  6. prohibits telephone solicitors from calling a telephone number when someone at that number has stated that he or she does not wish to receive solicitation calls by or on behalf of the company for which the call is being made;
  7. prohibits telephone solicitors from calling a telephone number on the National Do Not Call Registry;
  8. permits individuals to sue to enjoin violations, recover damages of $500 for each violation or up to $1,500 for willful violations, and recover their attorneys’ fees and court costs;
  9. authorizes the Commissioner of the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services to inquire into possible violations and the Attorney General to issue civil investigative demands; and
  10. authorizes the Attorney General, Commonwealth’s Attorneys, and attorneys for any county, city, or town to sue to enjoin violations, recover damages for affected citizens of $500 for each violation, recover a civil penalty of up to $1,000 for each willful violation, and recover attorneys’ fees and expenses.

If you believe you are receiving calls in violation of the VTPPA as described above, you may file a complaint with the Consumer Protection sectionExternal Link logo of the attorney general's office.