Editor’s Note: This article was originally published October 11, 2015. It has been modified to included updated links to the resources listed.
The latest student loan scam involves people posing as FBI agents in an attempt to collect student loan debt. They threaten callers with possible arrests. Making the scam seem more legitimate is that they are “spoofing” FBI field office numbers. Callers who check the call ID and google the number will see that the number actually belongs to an FBI field office. This little trick has been enough to swindle several borrowers.
What calls are legitimate?
With scammers now able to spoof call IDs, being vigilant about who is calling has never been harder and never been more important.
For starters, the FBI does not conduct collection calls for the Department of Education or any other student loan lender. If someone says they are the FBI calling about a student loan, that should be an immediate red flag.
The only way to be certain that you are conversing with someone who is 100% legitimate is to make the call yourself to a number that you know to be legitimate. In the case of federal student loans, the process is quite easy. To get into contact with your federal lenders, visit the National Student Loan Database. At the National Student Loan Database you can find a full list of all of your federal student loans. Not only is the full list of your loans there, but contact numbers for all of your federal servicers are available. If you have a question about any loan, you can call the proper contact number.
What to do if you suspect fraud…
The most important thing in this situation is to make sure that your interests are protected. The second something seems the slightest bit off, cut things off and make a phone call to a number that you know to be correct.
If you want to report a suspected scam, reaching out to your State’s Attorney General’s Office is perhaps the best place to start. Filing a complaint with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau can also help alert people to the scam.