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It’s a staggering number. More than 42 million Americans owe a total of nearly $1.5 trillion in student loan debt. It’s no wonder people look for help. But not all help is legit. Scammers are targeting borrowers with student loan debt relief schemes that can actually make things worse.

In a new case announced today, the FTC alleges the operators of Mission Hills Federal and Federal Direct Group bilked borrowers out of more than $23 million. The FTC says these companies lured people with false promises to pay down student loans and lower monthly payments. According to the FTC, the companies also lied about taking over the servicing of the loans, which tricked people into submitting loan payments directly to them. In fact, the defendants diverted borrower payments to themselves.

What’s more, many of these borrowers went months, sometimes years, before learning their student loans weren’t being repaid. Why? The FTC says the defendants made people give their federal student aid IDs, or other personal information, to enroll in the debt relief program. They used that information to change borrowers’ contact information on U.S. Department of Education websites, which limited the borrowers’ contact with their federal loan servicers.

If you or someone you know feels overwhelmed by student loan debt, know this: There’s nothing a company can do for you that you can’t do yourself for free. If you have federal student loans, start with If you have private loans, talk with your loan servicer. For more information, check out

Here are a few tips to help avoid debt relief scams.

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Spotted a scam? Let us know about it at

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The purpose of this blog and its comments section is to inform readers about Federal Trade Commission activity, and share information to help them avoid, report, and recover from fraud, scams, and bad business practices. Your thoughts, ideas, and concerns are welcome, and we encourage comments. But keep in mind, this is a moderated blog. We review all comments before they are posted, and we won’t post comments that don’t comply with our commenting policy. We expect commenters to treat each other and the blog writers with respect.

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We don't edit comments to remove objectionable content, so please ensure that your comment contains none of the above. The comments posted on this blog become part of the public domain. To protect your privacy and the privacy of other people, please do not include personal information. Opinions in comments that appear in this blog belong to the individuals who expressed them. They do not belong to or represent views of the Federal Trade Commission.

July 11, 2019
Thank-you for this good news!! Keep it up and in my opinion getting rid of these greedy, poisonous, horrible, blood-sucking businesses and those disgusting, degenerate, poisonous and definitely blood-sucking degenerates who prayed on student loan people.
July 11, 2019
Bravo FTC!!!!! Bravo!!!!!
July 11, 2019
So, what do we do to help people that have been victims of a student loan scam?
July 11, 2019
Congratulation FTC.
Monica M.
July 11, 2019
We received two of these calls: July 10 and two weeks prior. We paid off our student loans in full by 1975. Don't know why we are on the call list.
Mir Mar
September 17, 2019

In reply to by Monica M.

I never had a student loan and I received a call. The guy was difficult to understand, never even confirmed that I had a student loan.
December 19, 2019

In reply to by Mir Mar

I've received a few calls over the past year. I've never had student loans so I never call any number left on my voicemail. I don't know why they're calling me unless they have some profile of age groups and phone numbers guessing who has student loans.
July 11, 2019
Im using "FedLoan Servicing", I hope they are a legitimate company?
FTC Staff
July 15, 2019

In reply to by Angus

The companies the FTC sued in this case are Mission Hills Federal and Federal Direct Group. You can read more about the case in the press release.

If you have federal student loans, you can use free information from the US Department of Education at to learn about repayment options.

Dewey or Andrew
July 17, 2019

In reply to by Angus

They're not. I mean they could be. But no, I called the Department of Education because they put my student loan back on active while it was under investigation, but the Department of Education said that they did it without the Department of Educations permission and they had been receiving A LOT of calls from people stating that FedLoan Servicing had been renewing peoples payments without authorization the past month. Also, I have emails with them of them lying and blatantly trying to frame me. I have a conversation about my loan payment and my dispute that they were directing to the wrong sources of which blatantly would make the average person give up on trying to defend unlawful payments, their response almost every time I talked to them was that their contract is to make us pay the loan under any circumstances and that no matter the situation that they are to assure that the loan gets paid by. They have clearly made that obvious with how they have reacted. I had 2 loans for 1 school, TuitionOptions and FedLoan, I told TuitionOptions about my situation in minor detail because I sent them a message to ask them a legal question about owing the loan/payments, they immediately closed my loan, saying I didn't owe it, but I think TuitionOptions was a Private Loan. FedLoan though misdirected me, lied to me, basically blackmailed me, and like with many others as The Department of Education told me, unlawfully reinstated peoples loans.
Lisa D
July 13, 2019
I was one of these people that fell for this. 4 years later, the company I went through is under investigation. I recently called my student loan provider and spoke to them about the situation. Although they cannot do anything, I did find out that this company got me for 17,000. Instead of paying my loans down, I now have more debt. Be careful people, I didn't know better at the time.
July 15, 2019
Sorry, FTC, you missed someone! I got a call July 15, around suppertime, and guess what? I paid off my student loans *years* ago and have records to prove it. Yet this person (a live one) said a name and 1-888 return call number and said there was a 'letter' to delay action for, gee, less than a day more. No written notices, no other calls, nothing on my credit report, and did I mention my loans were paid off years ago? Louisiana number, mobile phone. Just in case this one slipped the net.
July 16, 2019
I was told that I charged 42,000 dollars to a credit card.I have never had card with a limit that high!!
July 16, 2019
Just got a scam robo-call today. First, it was a recording, second, I PAID my student loans off over 30 years ago and third, my son didn't take out any loans. (856) 777-7192
July 17, 2019
I have student loans on my credit report,and I have never taken a loan out in my life..what do I do_
M Walker
July 17, 2019
July 15th and 17th, and I am still receiving these calls. SAME lady everytime but goes by 2 different names of Diana Nelson and Barbara Harris. Same MO, no name but they want to give me refinance options for my loan. Caller ID and call back numbers are always different. Today's call from 435-465-9453 with a call back number of 866-855-3443. Other numbers noted are 866-855-3443, 866-262-6116, 866-456-9828, 866-472-9458. Yes, I will also file an online complaint.
July 18, 2019
I have received at least 6 calls from this person . Just had another one 5 minutes ago.
July 19, 2019
Do you know anything about Regional Accounting Center they just had my sister in law sing all kind of forms and setup a payment plan for 240 months. Totaling 6k+ for 30k of loans.
July 19, 2019
Been plagued by these calls for way too long! TYTYTYTYTYTYTY!!!!!
July 19, 2019
July 22, 2019
This is the scam call I received today. I almost fell for it because I am enrolled in a Loan Forgiveness program. I called back and “Tiffany “ answered the phone with the company name “Mentor Servicing”. I’ve looked the number up on here and found identical calls other people have received, even with the same reference number. BEWARE! Here is the voicemail transcription, “ Hello this is Becky with the student loan servicing approval department I'm contacting you today regarding your federal student loans eligibility for the forgiveness program it is important that we speak to you at your earliest convenience you can reach us at 855-512-3778 again that's 855-512-3778 please be sure to mention reference number 01455 thank you…”
July 23, 2019
Just got this call July 23, 2019. Last one was back in February. Same 'Virginia Davis, reference # 060008' both times. Guess the FTC missed some.
July 23, 2019
Received a call from Virginia Davis saying options have changed for repaying Federal Student Loans. Left a number to call her back 866-789-1441 Ref# 060008. Asks for nonespecifically & never says where she's calling from.
July 30, 2019
Students Counseling Center should be next on the FTC list.
October 13, 2020

In reply to by G

Can you elaborate? I've been trying to find info on them all day!
August 02, 2019
Received a call/voicemail TODAY.
August 02, 2019
Received a call/voicemail TODAY from 866-789-1441 Virginia Davis. Ref #060008. I've never had any student loans.
August 06, 2019
Another company or the same company is at it again. Received call from Virginia Davis (866) 789-1441 asking me to return her call using Reference #060008. Stated she wanted to go over recent changes to my Federal Student Loan
August 30, 2019
Received several calls last week from Virginia Davis saying options have changed for repaying Federal Student Loans. Left a number to call her back 866-789-1441 Ref#xxxxxxx. Called back and spoke with Jerry Avita who sent an email. www. studentloanhotline. com Got my FASFA ID, Email address, SS#, and DOB all while leading me to believe that they were with the Dept. of Ed. After supposedly approving me for an income driven program, they wanted banking info. for the first three months payments. According to them that is the only way to initiate the program. By this time I started to become leery, so I refused to give them that information and requested time to think about it. They informed me that they could not proceed with out this information and with out my signature. I did not give it to them but I have now called my lender and made them aware and have also put an alert on my credit. Beware everyone! This has become both frustrating and exhausting having to be defensive about every single thing in our lives. You have to fact check and research every single life event that happens trying to keep your information safe and secure. Where do they get their information from? Who is selling it to them? The Universities? If so, then it should be stopped! It has become absurd the amount of time required by the consumer to do so and even then, there is no guarantee that you are protected.
Yaya Maggie
October 16, 2019

In reply to by JW

Good job on dodging this company’s scam! I wasn’t so smart and gave them 2 payments and I am now trying to get a refund. Good luck to me...
Virginia Davis
August 22, 2019
You shut the scam down? Really? Because they just called me, and I called them back and well, they’re still in business! Get to work!
FTC Staff
August 30, 2019

In reply to by Virginia Davis

If you got a call from the companies the FTC sued, including Elegant Solutions, Inc. (also doing business as Federal Direct Group); Trend Capital Ltd. (also doing business as Mission Hills Federal); Dark Island Industries, Inc. (also doing business as Federal Direct Group and formerly known as Cosmopolitan Funding, Inc.); Heritage Asset Management, Inc. (also doing business as National Secure Processing); Tribune Management, Inc. (also doing business as The Student Loan Group); and three individual defendants, Mazen Radwan, Rima Radwan, and Dean Robbins, please report that to the FTC at

After the FTC filed the complaint, a federal court temporarily halted the scheme and froze its assets. Read more in the press release announcing the action.

September 02, 2019
Is this a class action? I've been trying to get my money back from this stupid company for 2 years now.
September 05, 2019
If only this were true. I still get these calls daily. And I don't even HAVE any student loans.
September 05, 2019
Received a call from a lady with last name of Jackson stating that I was late on my Federal Student Loan Debt (I don't have one). Number was 888-855-2911. Said I'd lose thousands if I didn't call her back.
Nice try
September 06, 2019
They are already up and running and calling with spoofed phone numbers.
October 25, 2019
I have some serious information in regards to this think I need to speak to someone
FTC Staff
October 25, 2019

In reply to by Tajay14

You can report fraud to the FTC at or call 1-877-382-4357.

September 27, 2019
So, what happens now? I fell for this :( I just talked to my student loan representative and nothing has been applied. They've taken two payments! How do I stop them withdrawing money?
Don't use your…
October 03, 2019
A company called Fast Track Servicing is doing the same thing.
October 03, 2019
When you say FTC shuts down student loan debt relief scheme, but I just received a call that said.. " Hi, it's Lisa from the student advisory board ...." I am at a point that I have to let everything go to voicemail if it is not a contact in my phone. This one left a voicemail.
October 09, 2019

In reply to by Brian

I got a vc msg from a Jennifer telling me I must call back immediately to negotiate a settlement. I don't HAVE student loans, college for me was DECADES ago PIF at the time of classes, so this is comical but highly annoying.
October 08, 2019
I am on the do not call registry, but I still get scam calls. Today I got a call from a number that controlls my phone. I could not stop the ringing to disconnect call. It just kept ringing though I pressed the disconnect button. So I answered it and tried to dos onnect it and could not. Recorded call was about student loans and though in the past it asked if you want to be taken off their call list and I pressed the right button they started calling me again over and over. It is so frustrating.
May 26, 2020

In reply to by Bonita

Do not answer these calls and if you do, don't EVER press any numbers other than hanging up. Youll never be called on your phone about student loans. It will always be in the mail. When you press the button to be "removed from the list" it makes the callers realize that the number they're calling (yours) is a legit and active number and owned by a real person. Then they call you nonstop afterwards
October 14, 2019
The student loans scams are still out there. I got a message on my answering machine today from an "Ashley White" (no company affiliation) saying she was "calling in regards to your student loans" and needed information due to "changes that have taken place." Callback number was 866-791-9527, but the caller ID for the call's origin was 636-323-5322 (probably spoofed). The message even provided a "reference number" to give "Ashley" when calling her back. Impressively professional-sounding, except that I have never had any student loans. Unspecified "changes that have taken place" ... dang, that's well-crafted! Don't fall for this one, folks!
Erica from SF
January 03, 2020

In reply to by KT

I literally just had this happen to me, someone named "Megan" from "Federal Student Loan Services" (which isn't even an organization, a quick google search will show you that) left a voicemail on my phone saying I qualify for federal student loan debt relief, which is just ridiculous, I don't know why the government wouldn't want the money back. They're still out there, don't fall for it!!!
March 17, 2020

In reply to by Erica from SF

This JUST happened to me with the same “Megan” voicemail! I got excited for .0001 seconds until I knew to look up the information. This is just awful!
Yaya Maggie
October 16, 2019
Does anyone know anything about Student Loan Hotline? I started the process of loan consolidation and forgiveness but stopped payment (after I had already payed $500) when I received a text from a source stating that this company was not legit. I tried calling Student Loan Hotline several times but was only successful at speaking to someone today. The representatives were rude, condescending, and told me that if I wanted a refund to tell my bank to give it to me. Anyway, I’m truly upset and wondering if anyone knows anything about this company. Thanks.