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Scam Alert: The “Department of Education” called me about my student loans

Student loan borrowers should treat phone calls from the “Department of Education” with a lot of skepticism.

Written By: Michael P. Lux, Esq.

Last Updated:

Affiliate Disclosure and Integrity Pledge

Today I received a robocall from “The Department of Education” regarding my student loans. The recording said that I was flagged as being eligible for certain programs including student loan consolidation and student loan forgiveness. If I was interested in learning more, I was instructed to push 1, and if I was not interested, I was to push 5.

This particular call is one of many student loan scam calls making the rounds.

Red Flags: The Signs the “Department of Education” Didn’t Actually Call

Even though the recording only lasted about 15 seconds, there were several red flags that indicated to me that this was a scam.

The Department of Education made the call

The Department of Education does not directly service student loans. Companies like Navient, Great Lakes, Nelnet, and MyFedLoan get massive government contracts to manage federal student loans. There is no reason for the Department of Education to make the call directly. Anyone pretending to be the Department of Education clearly has bad intentions.

They didn’t use my name

If you are being called about your student loans, the person (or robot) calling you should know your name. If they don’t even know your name, how are they calling with information about your student loans?

Press 5 if you are not interested

This is a common telemarketing scam trick. Even if the person dialed isn’t going to fall for the scam, having them hit a button to indicate that they are not interested means there is a human associated with the dialed phone number. Lists of in-use phone numbers are often sold, and hitting any button to answer any question is a good way to end up on one of these lists.

Even though the recording sounded somewhat official and sounded like it applied to my student debt situation, it was definitely not legitimate. Don’t make the assumption that just because someone is calling about your student loans, they must be legitimate. Over 40 million Americans have student debt. With a population of just over 300 million, it means well over 10% of random Americans called will have student loans.

Moving Past Scams and Getting Real Student Loan Help

If you are having problems with your student loans, don’t waste your time or money on someone who randomly calls you. The vast majority of student loan issues can be resolved by simply contacting your student loan servicer.

Even though the student loan servicers are often guilty of lousy performance, they remain the best and only way to enroll in many federal student loan programs. These programs, such as income-driven repayment and student loan forgiveness, are your right as a borrower and there is no reason to pay anyone to assist you. The real Department of Education has a nice list of the services that are provided for free for all student loan borrowers.

If you are suspicious about a call or a company, be sure to check out our tips on avoiding student loan scams. If you think you may have fallen for a scam, learn how to prevent scammers from causing further damage.

About the Author

Student loan expert Michael Lux is a licensed attorney and the founder of The Student Loan Sherpa. He has helped borrowers navigate life with student debt since 2013.

Insight from Michael has been featured in US News & World Report, Forbes, The Wall Street Journal, and numerous other online and print publications.

Michael is available for speaking engagements and to respond to press inquiries.

9 thoughts on “Scam Alert: The “Department of Education” called me about my student loans”

  1. I have the money to repay my loans, but I can’t seem to find out where to do this. When I try to go NSLDS.gov I can’t log in because I don’t remember my username and I can’t recover it because my attached Email has been non existant for along time. I can not seem to be able to talk to anyone in person, even after spending HOURS on their automated phone directories only to have my call just drop. When I call the number that is connected with my loans off of my credit search I am connected with a home medic alert system. It is unbelievable how difficult it is to just find where to simply pay off these loans. Not restructure them, not consolidate them, just take my payment.

  2. Recently received a call from the Department of Education about discussing which school my kid studying she gave one id number asking me to submit in school . but i didn’t get any information from school regarding this

  3. This girl keeps calling my grandma about her student loan this robot says “Hi this is Emily im calling about your student loans” in a really cheerful tone something thats abnormal, and does not sound like a real human at all. This thing is we knew it was a scam right away I wish I could listen more to the conversation but grandma keeps hanging up. The thing is we knew it was a scam because my grandma never took out a student loan. And this “Emily” keeps making new phone numbers because my grandma keeps blocking her this girl will not up.

  4. Best tip is to get a real person on the line, never say the words “yes”, “ok” or anything along those lines and don’t confirm that you are who they say you are if they do for some reason know your name, and ask them lots of questions.

    -What branch of government? (federal, state, county, district)
    -What’s your name?
    -What’s your physical location?
    -What’s your position title?
    -Where did you get this number?
    -Why are you calling?
    -Who is your direct supervisor?

    Ask them questions until it freaks them out, and don’t give them anything as far as your information goes. Chances are they won’t keep calling you back if you make them nervous. They know what they’re doing is illegal, and there have been international busts on scam call centers before.

    • ask for a callback number too “in case we get disconnected during the duration of this call”.

      When you talk, sound authoritative and official. It’ll freak them the fuck out.

  5. I get a call several times a week. The number they’re calling from is tied to a NJ number…which actually belongs to a legit repair shop. I always miss the call….but I wish I could get someone on the line…so I can curse them out.

  6. Recently received a call from the Department of Education about discussing a student loan forgiveness. Ha! I never applied or had a student loan. A scam alert!


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