The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) announced this week that it located a major source of student loan scam robocalls and authorized telecom companies to take action.
In a press release on Thursday, the FCC revealed that its enforcement bureau was able to trace upwards of 40 percent of such scam calls made last month to a single source: a voice service provider known as Urth Access, LLC.
The bureau quickly issued the service provider a cease-and-desist order in an effort to cut off the “apparently illegal traffic.”
In a statement on the announcement, FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel also revealed that the bureau had opened a formal case and could take legal action against the scammers.
“We’re slamming the door on these pernicious calls—cutting them off to protect the millions of Americans who may be targeted simply because they have school loans,” she said. “This is a new and more nimble FCC tool that we are putting to quick use here and won’t hesitate to use again in order to prevent these scam calls from getting through and reaching consumers.”
The announcement comes just one month after the FBI issued a warning to student loan debt relief applicants that they were in possible danger of being targeted by scammers. Student loan debt scams have seen a significant spike in the wake of President Joe Biden’s student loan forgiveness program.
The FCC further explained that the purported scam from Urth Access included “prerecorded advertising messages offering student loan assistance.”
FCC Enforcement Bureau Chief Loyaan A. Egal added that the bureau will continue to take aggressive action against scam networks.
“The Enforcement Bureau continues to pursue innovative tactics within our legal authority for combating scam robocallers,” he said. “To maximize our efforts, we’re taking the fight to robocall bad actors and disrupting their operational capabilities by precisely targeting the largest sources of illegal robocalls in specific sectors. Today’s action is an example of this strategy.”
The FCC is crediting the U.S. Telecom Industry’s Traceback Group with identifying Urth Access and the call-blocking company YouMail with helping the FCC “estimate the scale of calls made during these robocall campaigns.”