HOW TO AVOID FALLING VICTIM TO STUDENT LOAN SCAMS.
If you have a federal student loan, you will soon be required to begin making repayments starting September 1, 2022. This update as well as the fact that the U.S. Department of Education does offer some legitimate student loan forgiveness programs is creating a perfect breeding ground for scammers to take advantage of those with student loan debt.
SPOTTING AND AVOIDING SCAMS
The best way to keep yourself from being scammed is prevention. Luckily, these scams can be avoided if you know what to look for. Here are warning signs to consider:
- You are asked to pay an upfront cost or monthly fees. It’s illegal for a student debt relief company to charge you any fees in advance of a settlement or before providing a service. If they are asking you to pay a fee upfront, it’s probably not a legitimate provider.
- They call you directly. The federal government typically uses email and postal mail to contact borrowers. If you receive an email about student loan forgiveness, make sure it’s being sent from a legitimate email address that ends in “.gov”.
- You are asked to provide your FSA ID or password or your social security number over the phone. Scammers posing as student loan servicers can use this information, and even divert your payment to them. This ID is used to sign legally binding documents electronically. Instead of giving out your FSA ID, call or contact your servicer.
- Just because they have information about your student loan (balance, payment, etc.) does not mean they are your student loan servicer or the Department of Education. If someone has fraudulently obtained your credit report, they have access to this information.
- You are promised immediate loan forgiveness. Most government forgiveness programs require time and qualification criteria to become eligible.
WHAT TO DO IF YOU’RE A VICTIM
If you have provided a scammer with bank or credit/debit card information, call us immediately. We will work with you to identify options available to stop payments. Further, we will put you in contact with a fraud specialist who can help you determine your best course of action. Learn more about this service here. You should also log in and change your FSA ID password immediately and call your student loan servicer so they can monitor your account. Finally, if you are contacted by a scammer, you are also encouraged to contact the FTC at ReportFraud.ftc.gov.