If you’re wondering how to stop student loan forgiveness calls, you aren’t alone! The number of spam and robocalls coming into people’s homes has skyrocketed. The calls claim to let you consolidate your loans or have your loans forgiven altogether. Whatever the caller wants, it isn’t to help you get out of debt.
Have you ever wondered what anyone gains from making those calls? It turns out, they’re getting a lot. Many of these scammers use scare tactics to get you to talk. They want your personal information, and they’re willing to stoop to any level to get it.
Why Scammers Are Targeting People with Student Loan Debt
When someone calls with information about reducing your student loan debt, you assume they have access to your records. After all, they already know about your debt. Except that they really don’t. It’s just an educated guess based on the growing school loan debt crisis happening in this country.
About 69% of students who graduated from college in 2018 had student loan debt. The average debt per student was $29,800 for graduates of public four-year schools and $32,600 for graduates of private nonprofit four-year schools. These graduates are responsible for an average payment of between $200 and $300 every month.
The problem isn’t just with young graduates. While millennials (people born between 1981 and 1996) account for the largest portion of student debt, the number of people aged 60 and older taking out loans is also growing. These loans include those obtained for the applicant and for their children and grandchildren.
So, throwing robocalls and scam calls out there at random isn’t as crazy as it seems. The odds of reaching a household with someone who has student debt are high. These unwanted calls are also growing in number, making it even more frustrating to the people who get them. There are strict rules about the use of robocalls but little enforcement to ensure they are followed. Add to that the ability of a single robocaller to make millions of robocalls in a month’s time and you can see how distressing and widespread the problem truly is.
Sometimes it seems that the most impressive technology is what’s used against you. It’s amazing to realize that people have sent a man to the moon but it’s not possible to prevent these invasive and dangerous calls from getting through. While you can’t rely on consumer protection agencies to protect you, there are some things you can do to reduce or stop them on your own.
How to Stop Student Loan Forgiveness Calls
- Keep Your Phone Number Private
It’s all about sharing information these days; online, on social media, and with stores where you shop. Some stores offer you rewards for letting them add your phone number to their customer registry. It’s best to forego the special deals and keep your number to yourself. The same is true for any business that you deal with which doesn’t require your phone number. Businesses often sell phone numbers to third parties. The more you give your number out, the more likely it is to land in the hands of scammers.
- Don’t Answer Calls from Numbers You Don’t Recognize
Caller ID is great, but it does have its limitations. For example, the first time someone calls your number, it might not show their name. Scammers have the ability to show local numbers on your caller ID even when they’re calling from another state or country! If you don’t know who is calling, don’t answer. Let your voicemail take care of the call. If you read the number wrong and answer by mistake, don’t keep listening or talking. Hang up immediately.
- Register with the Do Not Call Registry
The Do Not Call Registry helps reduce the number of unwanted calls you get. It also provides a format for making complaints against callers who don’t comply. It’s against the law to call anyone on the registry without their permission, both on cell phones and landlines. Just don’t expect it to eliminate your student loan forgiveness calls completely. Some callers worry about the potential fines. Others are confident they won’t get caught and they keep calling until they do.
- Get Software that Blocks Robocalls
One problem with blocking robocalls is the scammer’s ability to disguise the number as a legitimate local number. They also use multiple numbers so they always call you from a seemingly different location.
The growing complaints about robocalls have led to the development of software that addresses these problems. Instead of blocking it at your phone, the technology identifies incoming robocalls and answers them before they come through to you. Wondering how to stop student loan forgiveness calls on your cell phone? There’s software that works with landlines, cell phones, or both.
- Be Careful Who You Do Business with In-Person and Online
Companies often provide incentives, including discounts, free newsletters, or contests when you sign up with them. Once you sign up, they can legally make phone calls to you if it’s part of their agreement. You might be inviting them to call your home any time you take advantage of any of their deals.
Once you realize what you’ve done, it isn’t too late to get out. You will have to submit a special request to be removed from their list. Keep records of your requests and the dates you made them. If you still don’t get results, contact the Federal Trade Commission and file a complaint.
- Find Out If Your Phone Company Offers Call Blocking
Landlines don’t get the attention they deserve by phone companies anymore. Apparently, they would rather everyone switch to cell phones for all of their calling needs. That isn’t realistic, however, and for many of us, a landline is essential. Depending on your landline carrier, you might have the option to block any number that you don’t want calling you. But all companies don’t provide this option.
The FCC recently voted to allow cell phone companies to block robocalls by default. The problem is that the cell phone carriers weren’t forthcoming with the information they had on if or when the service would be available to customers. Carriers that currently offer some form of robocall protection require customers to opt-in for the service. Carriers are hesitant to provide the service to all customers even though robocalls account for over 60% of the complaints received by the FCC.
- File a Formal Complaint
If you’ve registered with the Do Not Call Registry for at least a month and still get unwanted calls, make use of your registration with the FTC. It isn’t always effective since scammers have the advantage of technology on their side. But sometimes a lot of people make complaints about the same scammers and that gets the policy changed.
How Scammers Get Your Information
It’s surprising when you answer the phone and hear a stranger’s voice who seems to know a great deal about you. If you didn’t talk to someone directly, you don’t expect them to have your information. But there are lots of things people do in person, over the internet, and through the mail that provides information to scammers.
- Entering Contests – Whether you’re visiting a new website or shopping in a favorite retail store, entering a contest provides businesses with all kinds of information. Those simple little cards you fill out contain your name, address, age, phone number, and buying plans. They also know you believe in taking risks (at least, to the degree that you enter contests!) and that makes you more vulnerable.
- Warranty Cards– When you buy something new, you probably send in the warranty coverage to get as much protection for your purchase as possible. Again, the card includes a lot of information that’s valuable to scammers. That includes the phone number you provided as your means of contact.
- Surveys– Every purchase you make online today is usually followed up by a request for a survey. Those emails that lead off with “How did we do” are tempting, especially when you’re especially happy or dissatisfied with your purchase. Many companies, however, are more interested in using your phone number than they are in hearing your opinion.
- Online Presence– Many documents are available online today. All it takes is a search to find census data, criminal records, classified ads, information about your property, and more. Some companies compile this data and sell it to third parties legally. People even gather information from online obituaries looking for the vulnerable family members the deceased left behind.
Sometimes the personal information shared on the internet is out of your control. But try to keep personal listings to a minimum.
Another Common Scam: Calls from the IRS
Every year when tax season rolls around, IRS scam calls start all over again. Like student loan debt, taxes affect nearly every adult in the United States. One common robocall states that you will be “arrested in 24 hours” if you don’t return their call.
Why do these calls work? Because it’s easy to believe that you or your accountant might have made a mistake on your taxes. The caller doesn’t really have access to your taxes. They want you to believe they do. If they scare you enough to make you call them back, they can get you to reveal your personal information. Once they really have your name, address, and your social security number, they can use this info to commit fraud on many other levels.
How do you know it isn’t really the IRS? The IRS always sends a notice in the mail before trying to contact you by phone. In most cases, they will request that you contact them instead. They never send threats or try and scare taxpayers into paying their tax debt.
Ideally, you should never answer the phone, even when the caller ID says it’s the IRS. Many people feel obligated to take calls from important organizations. They don’t stop to think that the call might not be legitimate.
You have every right not to answer your phone. It’s your phone and you are the one who pays for it. If you accidentally answer any call from the IRS, or a debt collector, don’t provide any information. If they say you owe them for a debt, tell them to send a copy by mail. If it’s really someone that you owe money to, they already have your address.
The same rules for how to stop student loan forgiveness calls apply to scams and robocalls concerning the IRS. If you have any doubt, don’t answer the call and then call back using the number you have on file.
A Better Solution to Resolve Your Student Loan Debt
No one is going to call you and offer to erase your student loan debt. It’s up to you to find real solutions that suit your situation. Those annoying calls are really scams from people interested in getting your personal information. Providing them with any of your information can only make your situation a lot worse.
Loan consolidation, deferred payments, and income-based payments are some of the solutions provided by student loan carriers. They are limited to certain individuals and are not available to the majority of people struggling with student loan debt today. Another option is an attorney-based student loan modification to either reduce the amount of your student loan debt or to forgive it all together.
What Do I Need for an Attorney-Based Student Loan Modification?
Attorney-based student loan modifications are an option for people with more than $30,000 in student loan debt. There’s no litigation required and they are an option for all types of student loans. Some reasons you might qualify for a modification include:
- You are facing an undue hardship due to your student loan debt
- You aren’t benefiting from your education
- You dropped out without graduating
- You feel trapped in an abusive loan contrast with a predatory lender
- You’ve acquired a disability
- You’ve previously had to defer payments or request forbearance options to make ends meet
- You were a minor when you committed to a student loan
- You can’t afford payments on your salary
Contact Ironfist Legal for the help you need to get out of student loan debt. Learning how to stop student loan forgiveness calls is a matter of learning how to stop scam calls. Dealing with student loan debt is a serious matter that can impact your credit and your reputation.