In light of SCOTUS ruling, NH AG warns of potential rise in student loan debt scam robocalls and robotexts

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CONCORD, NH  – Attorney General John M. Formella and the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) Robocall Response Team on Friday issued a joint Consumer Alert to warn consumers about potential rise in student loan debt scam robocalls and robotexts in the wake of the recent Supreme court decision in Biden vs. Nebraska regarding the Department of Education’s student loan forgiveness program.

This decision, which relates to the Department of Education’s student loan forgiveness program, is receiving a large amount of news coverage, which may likely result in scammers attempting to use the program as a pretext for misleading robocalls and texts. Scam calls and texts often use broadly publicized current events to add legitimacy and familiarity to their fraudulent schemes. Scammers might use these calls or texts to pressure consumers to make a payment or provide private information.

Attorney General Formella encourages borrowers to be wary of calls or texts which purport to offer debt relief, debt settlement or forgiveness programs.  You can get information about all available student loan debt relief and repayment plans at www.studentaid.gov.  Application to all programs are free and available online.

STUDENT DEBT SCAMS:

The scam calls and texts may purport to offer some form of relief from student loan debt. Common scam campaigns purport to be from the “student loan forgiveness center” or from a state “forgiveness center.” Other messages reference a “settlement” with the Department of Education that entitles the recipient to “fully discharge” their student loan obligations. Incoming communications may also fraudulently reflect seemingly legitimate caller ID information to convince consumers to respond. The New Hampshire Department of Justice is working with the FCC to combat such communications.

HOW TO SPOT A SCAM:

Consumers should be aware that they are likely communicating with a scammer if:

  • You are pressured to send money or give personal information.
  • The caller requests an upfront payment in order to apply or appeal your application.
  • You are directed to any website outside of StudentAid.gov.
  • You are requested to contact them via app-based message platforms.
  • The call or text message claims to be from a “student loan forgiveness center” or a state “forgiveness center.”
  • The call is made using a suspicious caller ID, such as a name that is inconsistent with the substance of the message, or the same area code and first three digits of your phone number.
  • The caller asks for your Federal Student Aid ID, bank account number, or credit card information.
  • The caller offers services in exchange for payment via gift cards (such as iTunes cards, Target or other retailer cards, etc.).

WHAT TO DO:

If you have received a possible scam robocall or robotext:

  • Do not share any personal or financial information.
  • If you’re not sure, terminate the exchange and call the institution using their publicly available, legitimate phone number.
  • File a complaint:

The Consumer Protection and Antitrust Bureau investigates unfair, deceptive or unreasonable debt collection practices involving New Hampshire consumers.  To file a complaint with the New Hampshire Department of Justice, call the Consumer Protection Hotline at 1-888-468-4454 or file a complaint online at https://www.joj.nh.gov/consumer/complaints.

To file a complaint with the FCC visit: https://consumercomplaints.fcc.gov.


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