Most of the complaints under this category involve debt collectors (856). Consumers indicate they have received calls from harassing collectors who are threatening and will repeatedly call attempting to collect a debt. Other complaints that fall under this category involved credit/debit card fees, pay day loans, credit repair companies and unauthorized use of credit/debit cards. Some of these complaints involved hidden fees and billing disputes as well. Consumers should never authorize direct bank account debiting or reveal their bank account number over the phone. Consumers are encouraged to provide credit card information to only familiar merchants contacted by the consumer.
One way in which the Consumer Protection Division protects consumers against financial fraud is by cracking down on unlicensed pay-day lenders. In February 2015, the Division obtained a judgment against the Martin A. “Butch” Webb and his numerous business entities (operating from a Native American reservation in South Dakota) including Payday Financial, Western Sky Financial, Lakota Cash, Great Sky Finance, Red Stone Financial, Big Sky Cash, Lakota Cash, and Financial Solutions, none of which were licensed to do business in Missouri. These businesses sold short-term loans with exorbitant fees and forced consumers to agree to have their future wages garnished without going through the court system as required by Missouri law. The judgment permanently prohibited Webb or any of his businesses from making or collecting on any loans in Missouri, and it canceled existing loan balances for his Missouri customers, required that Webb instruct credit reporting agencies to remove all information previously supplied to them about specific consumers, and pay $270,000 in restitution to consumers and $30,000 in penalties to the state.