FCC allows telcos to block suspected sources of student loan fraud robocall campaigns – The Southern Maryland Chronicle

Washington, November 10, 2022—The FCC’s robocall response team has announced new actions to stem the flood of fraudulent robocalls related to student loan debt. The FCC’s Office of Enforcement believes that more than 40% of his student loan debt robocalls in the last month originated from one voice service provider, Urth Access, LLC. The station has told its service providers that they must stop carrying this illegal traffic and has ordered all voice service providers to look for this traffic. FCC Chairman Jessica Rosenworcel also confirmed that the Office has launched formal litigation and is investigating these requests for possible further legal action.

FCC Chairman Rosenworcel said:

“We are shutting the door on these malicious calls and turning them off to protect the millions of Americans who may be targeted simply because they have school loans. This is a new, more agile FCC tool that we have been using here for a while now and we are looking forward to using it again to prevent these scam calls from getting through and reaching our consumers. I will not hesitate.”

Student loan robocalls:

Robocalls contain pre-recorded advertising messages offering student loan assistance, including loan forgiveness (e.g. audio 1, audio 2). They often refer to entities such as “student loan centers.” For example, some robocalls contained the following message:

“Hello, I would like to let you know that the suspension of student loan payments has been extended to December 31st of this year. If you do not confirm, payments will automatically resume.To receive a full layoff, not just a $10,000 layoff, a petition must be filed on your behalf to prevent loan payments from starting on January 1st. It will be filed, call now and press 5. If your service is not listed, you can also press 5 to receive your layoff, if you have already verified your income and received your partial or full layoff. , press 9 to stop notifications. Thank you.”

How I got here:

Law Enforcement used data from the call-blocking application YouMail to identify robocall campaigns that accounted for approximately 40% of student loan-related robocalls reaching YouMail subscribers in October 2022. Nearly all of these robocalls appear to originate from Urth Access. Just as there has been a similar surge following the Department of Education’s loan forgiveness announcement since March 20, 2020, the recent surge in student loan debt fraud calls has been linked to the president’s 8-year-old student loan forgiveness program. It seems to follow the announcement of the month.

The FCC recently consumer alert Regarding the potential increase in student loan debt robocalls following the recent announcement of nationwide federal student loan debt relief. Enforcement recommendation Reaffirming the role of voice service providers in protecting consumers by actively combating illegal robocalls, especially student loan robocalls, following recent announcements about student loan forgiveness and deferment; .

Preparing and combating student loan fraud robocalls is a government-wide effort. The FCC is working with federal partners to combat such calls.The chairman recently attended meeting It was organized by the National Economic Council to discuss the topic and prepare to fight fraudsters.

What’s New:

FCC Enforcement Director Loyaan A. Egal said: To maximize our efforts, we will fight to robocall bad actors and disrupt their operational capabilities by pinpointing the largest sources of illegal robocalls in specific sectors. is unfolding. Today’s action is an example of this strategy. ”

Warning to all – the Bureau of Enforcement announcement Consistent with Section 64.1200(k)(4) of the FCC Rules, authorizes all US-based voice service providers to cease carrying traffic originating from Urth Access. Today’s “K4 Notice” clarifies that facilitating traffic from these parties may result in enforcement action, including permanent removal from the Robocall Mitigation Database.Enforcement Bureau issued The first K4 notice in July involved a flood of auto warranty-related robocalls. This notification has significantly reduced the volume of these calls.

Caller Warning – Enforcement Bureau Too letter of cancellation Contact Urth Access to formally warn them to stop carrying this suspected robocall traffic within 48 hours and report the steps they have taken to the FCC to continue blocking fraudulent traffic. If not, it warns that bureaus may direct other providers to block traffic from these companies.

Ongoing Investigations – The Chair also announced that the Office of Enforcement has launched formal litigation and is actively investigating these requests for possible further legal action. It does not exclude the possibility that the FCC may take enforcement action, including monetary penalties, against the parties.

Partnerships – Multiple partners were involved in investigating the Urth Access robocall campaign. USTelecom’s Industry Traceback Group identified Urth Access as the source of a large number of apparently illegal student loan-related robocalls. Additionally, call blocking company YouMail helped the FCC estimate the volume of calls made during these robocall campaigns.

Overall picture:

Under the leadership of Chair Rosenworcel, the Robocall Response Team was created to serve as a working group for FCC staff. The team brings together expertise from across the agency, leveraging the talents of enforcers, lawyers, policy makers, engineers, economists and outreach experts to combat stubborn threats. Illegal impersonation, fraud and robocalls.

This effort yielded the following results:

  • Record-breaking spoofing and robocall fines.
  • Shut down the gateways that international robocallers use to reach American phones.
  • Widespread implementation of the STIR/SHAKEN caller ID authentication standard to help illegal traceback calls and improve blocking tools to protect consumers.
  • Signing robocall investigation partnerships with a majority of state attorneys general and international partners, and
  • An unprecedented policy proposal to counter the growing threat of fake roboticists.

Consumer Guidance – Student Loan Fraud:

Signs of Fraud – Be aware that you are likely talking to a scammer if the robocaller:

  • Pressure to give money or information.
  • It says that a fee must be paid to file an application or to appeal an application.
  • directs to an external website StudentAid.gov
  • Say you’re calling from a “Student Loan Forgiveness Center” or state forgiveness center.
  • Suspicious caller ID, such as a name that doesn’t match the content of the message, or a phone number that matches the first three digits of the area code.
  • We will ask for your FSA ID, bank account, or credit card information. (Full name, date of birth, social security number, phone number, and email address are required for the actual application.)

What to do – If you receive a potentially fraudulent robocall:

  • Do not share personal or financial information.
  • If you are unsure, hang up and call your institution using the legitimate published phone number.
  • File a complaint with the FCC:

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