Taking Back the ID

Scammers rip off desperate school-loan debtors, plus analyzing sensitive data leakage

In March, a U.S. district court shut down a student debt-relief operation that stole $8.8 million in junk fees from school debtors. Here we detail how others can avoid falling victim to scams that claim they’re helping people pay off their student loans. And a recent data security report sounds the alarm on organizations sharing data internally.

If you’re struggling with college debt, imagine receiving this phone call. The friendly person on the other end of the line (we’ll call him Bart) says he works for “The Student Loan Forgiveness Center,” which he claims is affiliated with the U.S. federal government. Bart tells you that he’s reviewed your loan profile, and he can help reduce your balance by $20,000 under “Biden Loan Forgiveness.” All you must do, Bart says, is pay a “processing fee” of $375 and begin a new loan repayment plan starting with six monthly payments of $250. Of course, all that money will end up in the fraudsters’ pockets and won’t be applied to your loan write-off.

That’s some of the scammer language that phone representatives working for Express Enrollment LLC (also doing business as SLFD Processing) used to steal $8.8 million in junk fees from school debtors in exchange for nonexistent student loan services. In March, a U.S. federal district court permanently banned the ringleaders of the firm from the debt-relief industry and required them to turn over assets as part of a settlement with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). (See “Federal Trade Commission v. Intercontinental Solutions LLC,” U.S. District Court Central District of California, March 15, 2024 and Aug. 14, 2023; and “FTC Action Leads to Permanent Ban for Scammers Who Charged Students Seeking Debt Relief with Junk Fees,” FTC, Feb. 6, 2024.) 

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