What Student Loans Borrowers Should Know About Automated Calls Ranger student loan
For student loan borrowers, sometimes unwanted robocalls can be more than just a nuisance. In fact, many are scams that are downright harassing and prey on borrowers who are already in trouble.
If you have a phone, chances are you’ve had at least a few robocalls, which are pre-recorded or dialed automatically. Navigating these calls can be tricky, as they are used by both legitimate entities and malicious actors trying to impersonate them.
Automated calls can be used for something, and they are useful when used correctly. Businesses, schools, and nonprofits sometimes use automatic dialers or pre-recorded messages to reach people more effectively with important messages.
For example, if your flight was canceled or your college was opening with a delayed schedule due to bad weather, you would want to know and maybe appreciate an automated call. If you have student loans, you might appreciate a reminder if you forgot to make a payment and need to update your account to avoid the serious consequences of default or default. .
At the same time, robocalls have also been used to harass debtors with repetitive phone calls that annoy or abuse. These types of calls are increasingly used by crooks as the internet can be used to locate and contact many people inexpensively and efficiently.
Automated calls about alleged debt reduction, including scams aimed at reducing or eliminating student loan debt, are among the fraud complaints reported in high numbers to the Federal Trade Commission each year. In fiscal 2020, which includes months in which much of the United States was shut down or slowed down due to the coronavirus pandemic, the FTC still received 2.8 million robocall complaints. .
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Here’s what student loan borrowers need to know to protect themselves from robocalls.
Understand your rights
The Telephone Consumer Protection Act, passed by the US Congress in 1991, aims to protect consumer privacy and reduce the number of telemarketing and automated calls. The federal government recently updated the TCPA to further reduce these types of invasive calls.
In general, the TCPA allows the use of automatically dialed calls and text messages to mobile phones if the consumer agrees to receive them. If you’re contacted by a robocall from a company you’ve never heard of, it should be a wake-up call.
To avoid robocalls and telemarketing text messages, you have the right to add your phone numbers for free to the National Do Not Call Registry, which was created by the FTC. To do this, go to www.donotcall.gov or call 888-382-1222 from the number (s) you want to add.
Most federal student loan borrowers consent to calls from their student loan manager – the company that handles billing and other services on behalf of the US Department of Education – when they sign their primary promissory note. You can unsubscribe from these calls and texts later, but you should be aware that this might prevent you from receiving important messages from your server regarding your account in a timely manner.
The TCPA also allows calls by debt collectors when a loan is in default. Again, consumers have the right to decline these collection calls on their cell phones, but be aware that doing so can cause you to miss important communications regarding your student loan account. For example, appeals are allowed in the event of default to help debtors determine if alternative payment plans are an option before they default.
When it comes to debt collection, the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, or FDCPA, says that collectors cannot harass, oppress or abuse debtors or use unfair or deceptive practices. Phone calls before 8:00 a.m. and after 9:00 p.m. in your time zone, whether made using an autodialer or not, are not allowed unless you have given and not withdrawn your consent. You can sue a debt collector for breaking the law.
Know how to complain
If you think a student loan collector is harassing you with calls or texts, you can file a complaint with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau or the Consumer Complaint Center of the Federal Communications Commission, or contact your attorney general. State.
The FCC is stepping up efforts to tackle illegal robocalls. Acting commission chair Jessica Rosenworcel announced a series of initiatives in March, including issuing the largest robocall fine in FCC history; the launch of an automated call response team; reach out to the FTC, the US Department of Justice, and the National Association of State Attorneys General to revive anti-robot partnerships; and sending cease and desist letters to six voice service providers accused of repeated violations of FCC guidelines, including illegal robocalls to student loan borrowers.
If you suspect it is a fraud, you can also file a complaint with the FTC, which is home to the Bureau of Consumer Protection.
This month, the FTC announced that it was sending nearly $ 150,000 in repayments to student loan borrowers who got caught up in a debt relief scam and paid illegal upfront fees based on false promises to eliminate or reduce their student loan debt.
In fact, various types of consumers in the United States received more than $ 483 million in refunds in 2020, thanks to the FTC’s investigations and follow-up actions. But in April of this year, the United States Supreme Court ruled that the FTC did not have the power to seek financial redress in federal court for aggrieved consumers and was prohibited from doing so in the United States. ‘to come up.
The FTC has called on Congress to pass legislation restoring that ability, saying the court’s ruling would restrict its ability to effectively resolve cases on behalf of aggrieved consumers.
As a student loan borrower, you don’t have to put up with unwanted and harassing robocalls, and neither should you. Knowing your rights and knowing how scammers use these types of calls to take advantage of borrowers can help you protect yourself and others.