FCC cracks down on student loan forgiveness scam calls

by sam

Samuel Case, FISM News


The Federal Communications Commission has issued an order to telecommunications companies to block robocalls connected to known student loan scams.

The FCC chair said the scammers are using Biden’s student debt relief plan as a “cover for fraud” and that the robocalls are currently the target of an ongoing investigation from the agency’s Enforcement Bureau. 

“Scam robocalls try to pull from the headlines to confuse consumers. The newest trick in their playbook? Trying to take advantage of people who want help paying off their student loans,” FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel said. “Today we’re cutting these scammers off so they can’t use efforts to provide student loan debt relief as cover for fraud.” 

The FCC is ordering telecommunications companies to block calls from a company called UrthAccess, which investigators believe is responsible for “upwards of 40% of student loan debt robocalls in October.” 

“We will continue to deploy all of the tools in our arsenal to eliminate bad actors’ access to U.S. communications networks in furtherance of their schemes.  This targeted enforcement action provides U.S. telecommunications providers with the necessary information to apply ‘Know Your Customer’ principles to assist in protecting consumers from the individuals and entities named in this order,” said FCC Enforcement Bureau Chief Loyaan A. Egal. 

The FCC gave the following as an example of a scam robocall:

Hello this is to inform you that the Student Loan payment suspension has been extended to December 31 of this year. Also, everyone is now going to get $10,000 dismissed upon income verification. If you do not verify your income, on January 1, your payments will start back up automatically. To receive the full dismissal, not just the $10,000 dismissal, a petition will be filed in your behalf so that your loan payments do not begin on January 1. If you’re being serviced by Nelnet, Navient, Fed loans or Great Lakes, please press 5 on your phone now. If your service or was not listed, you can also receive a dismissal by pressing 5. If you have verified your income and received your partial or full dismissal already, please press 9 to stop your notifications. Thank you.

If an individual receives a possible scam robocall, the FCC recommends not providing any personal or financial information, hanging up, and calling the named institution or organization with their publicly listed phone number. They also recommend filing a complaint with the FCC.