You are here

FTC continues to crack down on student loan scams

Share this page

A lot of us have student loans – and some of us have trouble paying them every month. Some companies claim to resolve that issue by saying they can help you pay them down quicker, cheaper or get them forgiven altogether. Be cautious – some of these companies are running scams.

Here are some tips to avoid student loan repayment scams:

  • Never pay an upfront fee. It’s illegal for companies to charge you in advance before helping you to reduce or get rid of your student loan debt.  Companies that make you pay upfront might give you no help and not give your money back.  
  • Only scammers promise fast loan forgiveness. Before they know your situation, scammers might say they can quickly get rid of your loans through a loan forgiveness program. But they can’t.
  • A Department of Education seal doesn’t mean it’s legit. Scammers use official-looking names and logos and say they have special access to certain federal programs. They don’t.
  • Don’t share your Federal Student Aid (FSA) ID with anyone. Scammers could use it to take control of your personal financial aid information on U.S. Department of Education websites.

Last month, the FTC announced a lawsuit against American Financial Benefits Center (AFBC), Financial Education Benefits Center (FEBC), AmeriTech Financial, and Brandon Demond Frere as part of its crackdown against unlawful student loan debt relief practices, Operation Game of Loans. The FTC alleges that the companies charged illegal, upfront fees and failed to deliver on their promises to enroll people into a government program that they claimed would permanently lower monthly loan payments or result in total loan forgiveness.

The FTC also alleges the companies charged a monthly fee for the life of the loan (typically 10-25 years) and represented that the fee would go towards the student loan balance. But it didn’t.

You don’t have to pay for help with your student loans. There’s nothing a company can do for you that you cannot do yourself for free: federal borrowers can start with StudentAid.gov/repay; private borrowers can start by talking with their loan servicer.

Spotted a scam? Let us know about it.

Tagged with: loan, scam, student

Comments

You can report this to the FTC at www.FTC.gov/Complaint and to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

Who can you call if you've signed up already for a scam?

I signed up with American Financial Benefits Center thinking my loans would be reduced and fully paid off if I just paid the $20/month for 20 years or whatever it was. Basically I was just paying them to fill out the free paperwork bc I qualified for a no payment on income based repayment.
Then when my income increased and I had a monthly payment, they just added that to my monthly fee to them. And I had an initial $200 fee to start the program.
You’re basically paying them a lot of money to do your free paperwork.

I was scammed too by AFBC. I feel like a fool. Here I’m thinking they were trying to help me and all they were doing was helping themselves. I paid them over a 3 yr span only to see my loan amount increase. I am so angry with myself for not catching this. I hope we get some type of resolution for them scamming and using us.

I would like to be included in the lawsuit against American Financial Benefit Center because they took my money and I had to go to the bank to get it back. But they have all my information. I have documents and a contract that they sent to me.

The lawsuit is all well and good but what is to come of it for the customers that have paid thousands to these companies? Well there be any sort of restitution?

Just got a call about student loan forgiveness. The caller ID showed OR Army Natl G it had a local number. When I answered the automated voice said to press one to speak to an agent so I did and I mentioned to the woman that she called a business....she hung up on me. Does the Army National Guard do student loan forgiveness?

So is American Financial benefits center a scam? I have been paying them to do free paperwork for over 2 years now! Should i cancel? Feeling like a fool.

If the FTC wins this case against AFBC, will there be any relief to those who were scammed?

My loans were paid off years ago, and my phone number was even different then - and I'm getting calls from loan forgiveness scammers - and now they even call my business phone. I'm convinced they call people at random to steal social security numbers.

I have been getting calls from these people for weeks and multi times a day. I tell them to remove me from the list and do not contact and they even text me. They keep calling and use different numbers. I called a number back and it was someone else's cell phone...so they cloned a number now? They wont stop and now using people's numbers without them knowing? Their do not call prompt #2 doesn't work. Also it starts as a robo call.

I have been receiving texts from 67329 telling me they need my last two pay stubs and 2016 taxes to complete my student loan IDR application. They're asking me to email them at docs.@ studentservices. org. and give 2 different phone numbers: 855-878-8100 and 800-918-6698 and signing off with Chris, WBG.

These people have been harassing me on a regular basis for many months. I have no student debt so I told them to stop calling cuz I’m on the Do Not Call list. They still continue, but now they hang up after I push a button or amswer a question. Have filed many reports but still continues. When is the FBI gonna take them down? What are they waiting on?

When I get these calls I tell them I owe $655,000. I think this confounds them and they don't know what to do next. I don't have any student loans, but I figure I might as well have some fun with these scammers. I got a call this morning from a foreign accented person and when he asked my name I replied "Pan, Peter Pan". He bought that with no questions asked but his computer system wouldn't process it. He was still clueless.

Daily calls from "Federal Student Loan Advocates Group" from many different numbers. Most recently 502-878-7188. They never tell me what company they're with or where they're located. I call them back and they hang up on me. Next step is to give them fake names and fake information.

How has the FTC not cracked down on these? It can't be that hard to track these calls. Simply reach out to those who receive these calls and gather their incoming call information during the given time. What technical advancements have been made to prevent this from continuing.

You can help law enforcement by reporting the calls to the FTC at www.FTC.gov/Complaint. The information you give goes into a secure database that the FTC and other law enforcement agencies use for investigations.

The messages you put here on the blog don't go into the law enforcement database.

What happens when it's the actual Federal Government that's messed up your loans and you can't seem to get a response or get any answers? The CFPB and FTC won't regulate the government program per their responses to me. Who do you go to then?

Receiving over 10 a day with local numbers calling me. I send a text back that I cannot answer. Half of them I get texts back asking who is this?... they never called from their phone. How are these companies calling me and having my phone say it is a number they aren’t using?

Yeah I’ve been getting an atrocious number of calls from a non-existent firm blithely calling themselves ‘Student Help Center’. I receive calls from a wide range of voice over Internet protocol (voip) phone numbers. When my cell phone internet data is on, these calls are usually blocked by the RoboKiller app I have on my phone. However, I receive them even when the cell phone data is turned off.
I usually ignore these calls, but took the time today to smack one down.
I stayed on the line and was asked a series of questions by a woman named ‘Mary’ who wanted to know
1) did I have student loans
2) how much did I owe
3) how much do I make a month /
monthly income
4) in which state do I live

I have a bunch of bogus answers and ‘Mary’ told me I ‘pre-qualified’ for help and could be transferred over to the specialist.
I repeatedly asked for a number and website in case we got disconnected and acted increasingly frantic that I would ‘miss’ the opportunity to take these jackals up on their scam.
I acted as if I was very interested and worried that I would not be able to contact them if I got disconnected. I acted desperate.
‘Mary’ said she would transfer me and just breathed on the other end of the line. I said ‘hello, please don’t disconnect me! I need help!!!!!’
And then the scammers disconnected me.
If ‘Mary’ calls back, which I doubt, I will let her know I am reporting her to the FTC when the government opens up again.
By all means, if you have the gumption, and are biding time in a grocery line or waiting on a flight, please push back and put these scammers on the spot.
They might think twice about calling you again.
And yes, there are some good apps that fight these calls. I’m not a rep or being paid to write this, but the ‘robokiller’ App has made my phone life a lot more tolerable. This ‘Mary’ from the scam ‘Student Help Center’ keeps calling me and I report every number to the Robokiller app.
‘Mary’ needs to get a life.
Meanwhile, she should quit calling sharks like me.
Eat these people alive when they call you. Utilize an app against these criminals. I assure you, the government cannot handle all of these scammers and doesn’t have the resources to fight them all. So stand up for yourself and give these people hell when you can.
Thanks for all the great comments and stories.

I would like to know WHY i keep getting calls for a per-approved student loan. When i am 49 years old and never applied or had anything to do with student loans everrrrrrrrrr.. In the past week i have received at least 10 calls for this per-approved student loan crap.. The phone #'s that keeps showing up on caller are different and different names on them..When i try to call the phone numbers back, they are either no longer in service or can't not receive calls, always something different.. The last one that called today. I actually answered and pushed the selective number 2 to talk with someone.. When they India speaking woman answered, i asked why i was receiving these calls constantly. That i have never had nor never will have an interest in student loans or college. That i do not understand why they are calling me.. The witch hung up the phone.. The last phone# is (575)523-2808 ( Name on caller id is Jacques Amelio)..What can i do to make these calls stop???????? Ty

Since Feb 14, I've received several text messages about loan forgiveness. I know it is a scam. Most would say just ignore them. However I just think it should be reported. How are they allowed to do this without penalty. Suggestions??

Hey, this is Julia with the SaIIIeMae/NavientRelief Group. Your ACCisScheduled for fuII-4gvns. Please call 8669908068

Hi, This is Mary from Student-Advisory-Group. Your Navien(SaIlIeMaeACNThas been reset to zero. Call 8669909389

Hi, This is Karen from StudentAdvisory-Group. Your Navien(SaIIIeMae)ACNT has been reset to zero. Call 8559988190

Hey, this is Laura from StudentAdvsryBoard - YourSallIIeMae&NavientACC has been set for fuII-4gvness. Call 8778413281

Hi, This is MaryBeth from CoIIegeAdvBoard - your SalliieMa(Navient)acc has been mrked:4full4gvns. Call 8552362698

I get calls daily. I haven’t had a student loan in 20 years. I don’t owe any money. I am beyond annoyed with this scam.

Received a call allegedly form "Student Services" that left a name & reference number telling me it was vital I call them back concerning repayment option of students loans under new federal programs.
The caller identified herself as "Anna Wilson" & called from 270-533-7100. She gave me a reference number of 022551 & gave me a number of 866-572-8585 to call her back at.
Having had paid off my student loan 26 years ago I was curious so I returned the call.
It's a call center.
1st Call back I asked what company I was speaking wiht & they hung up.
2nd call back & stated I had received a call from them & that it sounded suspicious & asked for a company name. A 2nd time, THEY HUNG UP!
3rd call back I demanded to speak to the highest ranking supervisor & the individual said he wpuld try to get one for me. He then went on for several minutes trying to get all of my personal information BEFORE getting me a supervisor. II refused to give him any info. WHEN I DEMANDED TO KNOW WHAT COMPANY this individual identified the company as "Student Loan Advocate Group". Later he stated they were Advocacy Group that was not their name AND REFUSED TO TELL ME WHAT THEIR COMPANY WAS CALLED!
Finally an alleged supervisor came on. After argueing with me several minutes he said the company name is "Student Services" he then went into a lengthy thing explaining what the do as a "Student Loan Advocacy Group" -- referencing "worldwide" & "in the U.S." at least twice in that long winded spiel.
When asked if they were licensed he said "YES" he then claimed he did nto have to tell me what state they were licensed in.
He indicated they are at a "remote location".
Finally after arguing with me he said they were licensed in California as "Student Services".
The ENTIRE Interaction With "Student Services" Came Across Fishy. As Yet I Have Not Found ANY Data To Support That "Student Services" Is In Fact A Licensed Student Loan Advocacy Group In California Or Anywhere Else In The US.

I have received several calls identical to @Sharky999. The number she called from was 218-208-5954, but the callback and reference numbers were identical.

The calls started again. I have called them back. I do not nor have ever had a student loan. I have demanded 10 times to have my phone number removed from the list. The calls stop for 1 week and start up.

I receive several calls asking about my Federal Student Loan. I’ve answered on two occasions. One, I asked her what is the amount and what college did I attend for these “federal student loans” to occur. She asked how much did I owe (dah! Never got that one answered), so what college and I started naming all the Ivy Leagues. She kept asking how much I owed or how much do I think I owe. Hung up. The next time, different person. She asked me how much student loan I owe, I told her we were on a recorded line and she had reached the desk of Agent .....and I would like to speak with her manager/supervisor/director regarding this claim. She “transferred” me to guess who? Herself!!!! Really, as if I couldn’t tell she was the same woman. When I said she was running a scam and I was opening a case on her, she hung up.

I received a call message from Courtney about a student loan which I never had. her ID 1-866-761-1441, she said to call back
972 385 4655

Seems so real.. it sucks because so many people could use assistance and its so limited. I have been paying student loans for 20 years, we hear news that our previous presidents will do loan forgiveness and these fraud companies seem so legit. I feel so abused. Why do they have my phone #, where did they get it, they had my, number, email and date of birth, and who my loans were with but I still feel ridiculous. The government needs to step in for education! I am tired of letting crappy politicians make 100's or thousands of dollars evenaftter their service has ended and I have months where I can't pay all my bills and have a decent salary, but because am a single white woman, no kids and no husband, no military, I can't get squat for assistance. It's ashame you have to be in dire straights or work a certain job to get help from our government. Shameful!

I have a nurse on my staff that was scammed out of over 13000.00 by premier student loan center. She made 1100.00 monthly payments for over a year before she found out none of the money was going toward her loans. How can she file a complaint? She called the company and “good luck getting your money back” was all she got.

She can file a complaint with the FTC at www.FTC.gov/Complaint and her state Attorney General.

We continuously receive phonicals from "Amy Wilson, re: Federal Loan, case# 055503, Phone number 866-531-4004". When we answer she continues to speak over us as if she can not hear or will not listen to us. She continues to give us the information without acknowledging our voice. we save her voicemail. We have previously paid off all our student loans, almost a year ago. Definitely a scam.???

I just received a voicemail from the same person, phone number and case number. I'm not calling her back!

What? We have the same case number! Ha! Ha! It's a scam. The number that showed up on the caller ID was from Honolulu, HI. "Amy Wilson" same 866 number and told me to call back. These people need to get a life.

How ironic, we have the exact same case number! Who woulda thought!! Yeah - Amy Wilson should get a life too, because these scams are ridiculously annoying and I'm pretty sure we're all getting sick of it!

I just got the same call from Amy with the same reference number! Def a scam.

I am 77 and did have a student loan back in when I graduated, but paid it off. Notice that the scammers call from different #'s, and give another 866 # to call back. I get two or three of these calls a day....sometimes they leave a message. Never answer the calls.

I get several calls every week asking me for my file number or student loan ID. I do not have any student loans they refuse to take me off their list. They said my phone number was used on a student loan form. I do not have any loans on my credit report so I don't believe someone is using my identity I think that my phone number could have been used on a student loan form because phone numbers get recycled. The number that call me the last time was 701-343-5968.

I received two scam phone calls today and two text messages. I got the "representative" to tell me they were calling from the "Student Loan Support Department" before quickly rushing to tell me they will put me on the do not call list. Here are the numbers: 1-877-863-5381, 1-800-356-8560

Does anyone know the status of the lawsuit? Because I did not investigate it last year when it came out, I am in a situation. I contacted Great Lakes and they were very helpful on what I need to do. It is 4 years to late, however, I am sure I will figure something out. I would like to re-coop the money that was taken. It added another 17 grand to my loan. It is no one's fault but my own. I was looking for lower payments and forgiveness after 10 years. Looks like I will be paying until long after I retire in another 12 years. I called the company on Saturday and their services have been suspended and I cannot contact anyone. On a good note, the company stopped taking the payment out in November.

The FTC announced the lawsuit against American Financial Benefits Center (AFBC), Financial Education Benefits Center (FEBC), AmeriTech Financial, and Brandon Demond Frere in February 2018.

The case is still going on. The businesses are not operating.

Federal Student Loan Advocates is using (602) 584-9042 to continue its scam

Just received a voicemail from "Megan" about my Federal Student Loan. I returned her call to 877-210-6382. I was put on hold by a clearly foreign individual by the good old American name of "David". David came back on the line to tell me Megan was unavailable. I then lit into him and told him to take me off his list for his scam calls. I then hung up. Since they are scamming us using a Federal Agencies name, said Agency should be responsible for putting a stop to it; and/or be able to sue whomever owns this phone number.

I don't understand how they are able to do this. These are federal loans, supposedly processed at a federal level. 1 how do they get my personal information that i was TOLD would be stored safely and securely. 2 Why is there not a way to stop them from calling and texting?? I ve received 6 texts today alone from the "Student loan center" who apparently dosent have a website. I call the number select 2 to be removed from the list, then i get a message from different number from the same company. As if dealing and affording to make the monthly payment isnt enough, now I feel like I gave my info to an untrustworthy source and am now being harassed daily because of it. Ive filed complaints and nothing. I know FOR SURE im not the only filing them and being harassed. If anyone knows how to stop them please share.

I have gotten several such calls. They leave a voicemail. They give their name (latest so far, Sharon Rogers, Stephanie Lawrence), a phone number (866-292-5115, 866-817-5665) and reference numbers. They sound very professional, but the script they read is pretty much the same. I have never had a federal student loan or any other kind of student loan. I wish law enforcement could get them and close up their shop.

Same thing happened to us. have gotten several such calls. They leave a voicemail. They give their name (latest so far, Sharon Rogers, Stephanie Lawrence), a phone number (866-292-5115, 866-817-5665) and reference numbers. They sound very professional, but the script they read is pretty much the same. I have never had a federal student loan or any other kind of student loan. I wish law enforcement could get them and close up their shop.

‭SCAM, SCAM, SCAM! -Student Loan Forgiveness of Urgent Matter- Left following message on my phone. Number traced to apartment complex in New Jersey. Apartment complex actually had a BBB rating of A+. Young woman’s voice was very convincing.. Our loan had been paid in full a few years ago so I called thinking there was a problem. Machine asked if my student loan debt was over $10,000, if so press 1 if no press 2. Pressed two and was told I did not qualify for this program. It was convincing up until the recorded man’s voice began speaking.

*SCAM SCAM SCAM +1(405) 243-4332‬ ‭(888) 809-6026‬ “I guess this is _⁠_⁠_⁠_⁠_⁠_⁠_⁠_⁠_⁠_⁠_⁠_ up my agent ID is 9158 and I'm calling in reference to your student loans I need to discuss your payment options this emergency _⁠_⁠_ to see _⁠_⁠_⁠_⁠_⁠_⁠_ _⁠_⁠_⁠_⁠_⁠_ affect recently so if you can call me back my number is 888-809-6026 and _⁠_⁠_⁠_ when you get your reference number and _ _⁠_⁠_ you when you call back in just gonna make things so much easier if you have that you do 00367 hello this is time sensitive _⁠_⁠_⁠_ _⁠_⁠_⁠_ _⁠_⁠_ an _⁠_⁠_⁠_⁠_⁠_⁠_⁠_ this _⁠_⁠_⁠_⁠_⁠_⁠_⁠_⁠_⁠_⁠_⁠_⁠_ open on the _⁠_⁠_⁠_⁠_⁠_⁠_ _⁠_⁠_⁠_ Wednesday again the number is 888-809-6026 thank you…”

I have received these calls. At first was afraid they may have called the wrong number as I have never had any student loans. I entered the number on my contact list but the next time I got a call it came from different #. Same person but different # and different case file #. If I don't recognize the phone number these days, I don't answer. My friends and family would leave a voice mail message. I know it can be hard to ignore a ringing phone but that is what I do.

Pages

Leave a Comment