Students worry over scam call dangers
By Megan Carcamo
Bridge contributing writer
Published Tuesday, April 4, 2023
As a new school year commences for many, students become aware of the increase in scam calls they receive targeted at those with education loans. Fears grow for their own financial safety.
The Laredo Police Department turned to social media back in early September to warn education loan borrowers as they noticed a surge of scammers using student loans as an excuse to gain access to students’ personal financial information.
The LPD officials expressed major concern and warned students and parents to be cautious with scam calls, which attempt to make a quick buck from their victims.
Offering debt forgiveness is a common tactic swindlers use to lure a victim into their scam; those with education loans can easily believe in error that these are real and become endangered, as the website touches on.
Texas A&M International University Student Financial Assistance Director Laura Elizondo said her department is aware of everyone’s concern and assures that many institutions, including TAMIU, are removing it as much as possible.
Elizondo said the University’s Facebook page guides students on more information about real loan forgiveness programs and their safety.
Some TAMIU undergraduates experienced at least one scam call targeted at their education, which easily grabs their attention and can be frightening. Many describe their experiences and concerns on the situation, hoping they can inform others about this.
Graduate student Brian Esparza said he worries for others in the same position; scammers have called him about 10 times a month since school began last semester.
“They always offer me to be introduced to a debt forgiveness program,” Esparza said. “I was worried they were going to get my IP address and keep calling after I chose to hang up.”
Esparza continues to worry about what these scammers are capable of doing.
“The caller was getting aggressive toward the end of the call,” he said.“This is scary, and things need to change.”
TAMIU Crime Reports showed concern as they also experienced an increase in reports from students claiming scam calls are getting out of hand.
“Again, we urge all TAMIU students to exercise caution,” according to the Crime Reports website. “These attacks, if successful, can take away student resources and severely impact their educational progress.”
TAMIU student Jorge Rodriguez also experienced these types of scam calls.
“I got more scam calls—more than usual—in the beginning of this semester, but it thankfully has gone down,” Rodriguez said.
He was aware some of his friends had similar experiences this year. He was offered a debt forgiveness program, but always refused to give any information.
“I know what they are doing,” Rodriguez said, “and it could be really dangerous for other students. To be honest, it sounds so real sometimes.”
Other students went through similar situations and probably have additional thoughts.