Here’s What a Debt Collection Scam Call Sounds Like

I was able to get my hands on the audio from an actual debt collection scam robocall recently, and it’s kind of interesting to listen to and pick apart.

Here is the audio, left on a friend’s mobile phone:

And here is a transcript of that voicemail:

[sharp inhalation] Yes! This is Jessica Thompson. I’m calling in reference to your federal student loan. Um, I need to discuss your repayment options with some new changes that have taken effect recently, so… [sharp inhalation] If you could please [unintelligible] just give me a call back, my number is 866-371-3232…um, I’m gonna go [ahead] and give you a reference number, if you would have this number handy when you call back, it just makes things a lot easier. Your reference number is 909902. Thank you.

A few points about this robocall:

  1. The caller never states the name of the organization calling. Is it a lender? A collection agency? The federal government? Is Jessica Thompson an independent student loan wrangler?
  2. If you search online for the phone number (in quotation marks) along with the reference number (also in quotes), you’ll find a lot of people who have received this exact same message with the exact same reference number. You’d think the reference number would be unique to each individual.
  3. It ends with a little bit of “electronic noise” (including a small beep) that wouldn’t usually occur with a live caller, which is a sign of a prerecorded robocall.
  4. Most telling of all: the person who received this has had their student loans, federal or otherwise, paid off for around 13 years now.

In any case, if you get a call like this, it’s safe to hang up or delete the voicemail. It’s nothing but a phony debt collector.