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Protect Your and Your Students’ Personal Identifiable Information (PII)

October 16, 2012

Nelnet recently received reports of a phone-spoofing scam where cybercriminals fake a Nelnet caller ID to deceive school employees or Nelnet borrowers into divulging sensitive personal information. Caller ID spoofing is a well-established technique used by identity thieves to deceive people into thinking they are getting a phone call from their bank or other service provider when it is really a call from a cybercriminal trying to lure the victim into revealing personal details that they can later use to break into accounts. In the reported cases, the phone number used is 402.875.9195. The cybercriminal poses as an actual Nelnet employee (a name you may recognize) and tries to obtain sensitive personal information. Nelnet would never request a Social Security Number (SSN) for any account that we are servicing, since this is information that we already have on file and protect.

Our phone company’s fraud department is working on this case. In the meantime, here are some important tips to help protect you and your students’ Personal Identifiable Information (PII). PII is any information that can be used to uniquely point to who you are. Some examples of PII are a SSN, driver’s license number, and credit card number. Keeping your PII safe is important for many reasons, one of which is keeping your identity secure. If your PII is compromised, scammers can use it to gain even more PII. If that happens, they can assume your identity to make purchases or exploit your bank account. Please use extra caution if someone requests you provide them with information that they should already have on file, such as an SSN.

The first step in keeping your PII secure is to verify that people are who they say they are. If you get a call from someone claiming to be from Nelnet or another service provider, do not give them PII without asking any questions. Instead, ask the caller to verify your other information, and have them give you a phone number where they can be reached. If they are hesitant to do either of those things, there’s a good chance you are dealing with a scammer. For more information, read the Department of Homeland Security’s handbook on safeguarding your PII. If you would like to anonymously report any questionable activity to Nelnet, please complete this online form.

Jodi Miller, Web & Social Media Manager, Nelnet Partner Solutions

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