Fraud in the News

BBC news agency investigates student loan scam

Student loan fraud knows no boundaries and spans the globe. According to the Nov. 13, 2017, BBC News article, Student loans fraud exposed by Panorama, investigative current affairs program “Panorama” discovered significant evidence of a new supposed scam during a fraud investigation.

In its 10-month investigation, “Panorama” secretly monitored education agents and fake college students colluding to apply for student loans and targeting private colleges.  “Panorama” filmed the agents supplying fake qualification documents to the bogus students to receive financial aid packages.

According to the article, one agent exposed in the investigation claimed he could get any person signed up at Grafton College in London in a two-year business program for 200 pounds (approximately $264.39) and a small cut of the student loans received. The agent claimed he would “take care of” completing the college course assignments and submit attendance to the college. In return, the bogus student would receive large student loan sums but wouldn’t be accountable for repayment.

Tighter enforcement on robocalls

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is approving new rules to protect consumers from unwanted and illegal robocalls, according to its Nov. 16, 2017, news release, FCC Adopts Rules to Allow Phone Companies to Proactively Block Illegal Robocalls.

According to the news release, phone companies can block calls from invalid telephone numbers, fake area codes or ones that can’t make outgoing calls. This rule will provide greater protection to consumers who continue to receive unwanted calls despite being on the Federal Trade Commission’s “National Do Not Call Registry.”

The FCC says unwanted calls and robocalls account for more than 200,000 complaints received annually and are the agency’s top complaint.

College email phishing on the rise

If you go to Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana, chances are you’ve received a scam email. In the Nov. 20, 2017, Ball State Daily news story by Liz Rieth, Fraud emails target universities, Ball State, many students and faculty are receiving what appear to be legitimate emails from the university — but they’re from imposters.

According to the article, Ball State’s Director of Information Security Tobey Coffman, said the student population receives more than one million collective emails daily. Emails are sent from domain names purportedly from the college’s administrators or faculty enticing students to click on links that lead to sites or viruses that can steal personally identifiable information. Originally this scam was most prevalent around large colleges and universities, but smaller campuses like Ball State are now becoming targets.

According to the article, Coffman urges students to use caution when clicking on links within email that request a password even if they appear to be from the university.