Student loan Scams come in a wide variety of sizes and shapes. You might be more prone to fall for scams related to current events like “pandemic grant” or “Biden Student Loan Forgiveness”, but most of the time it is as easy as a phony promise to solve your problems quickly and save you loads of cash. Remember: It doesn’t have to be a complicated scam; sometimes the simplest types of fraud are the most effective. The desire to erase your debts is such a powerful driving force that a lot of people immediately grab the opportunity no matter where it comes from.
Now, the U.S Department of Education (ED) offers some legitimate student loan forgiveness programs and ways to lower your student loan payments and they are all free to apply for through your official loan servicer.
If a debt relief offer from a private company seems too good to be true, it probably is. Don’t pay for help when you can get it for free!
You’ll know you’re talking to a student loan debt relief company that could potentially scam you, instead of the ED or an official federal student loan servicer, if you notice any of the following three things:
You’re Asked to Pay an Upfront Cost or Monthly Fees
Scammers will often ask for an up-front or monthly fee while guaranteeing cancellation of all your loans. This is an immediate red flag. Most government loan forgiveness programs require that you be in certain fields for at least a few years of qualifying payments and/or employment before you are forgiven your loan.
Keep in mind that there’s nothing a student loan debt relief company can do that you can’t do yourself, especially with the help of your loan servicer. If you’re having a hard time making your monthly payments, your loan servicer can work with you to switch to a more affordable repayment plan at any time, at no additional cost to you.
Your loan servicer works on behalf of the ED to:
- collect your loan payments;
- answer any questions you have about your loans;
- help you decide which repayment plan best suits you; and
- help you switch to a new plan at no cost.
The federal government has tools that can help you prepare yourself for the conversation with your loan servicer, including a Loan Simulator that allows you to understand the plans available with estimated monthly payments.
You’re Promised Immediate Loan Forgiveness
No one can promise immediate and total student loan forgiveness or cancellation. A student loan debt relief company may claim to get rid of your loans quickly, but most government forgiveness programs require many years of qualifying payments and/or qualifying employment in certain fields before loans can be forgiven.
Find out from the ED directly whether you qualify for loan forgiveness due to your job, disability, the closure of your school, or other circumstances. Your loan servicer can also help you determine if you qualify for loan forgiveness, again, at no cost.
You’re Asked to Provide your Federal Student Aid ID Password
Neither the ED nor your loan servicer will ever ask you for your Federal Student Aid ID password. Your Federal Student Aid ID is used to sign legally binding documents electronically. It has the same legal status as a written signature. Do not give your Federal Student Aid ID password to anyone or allow anyone to create a Federal Student Aid ID for you.
If you share this information or sign a Power of Attorney, you’re giving a debt relief company the authority to take any action they choose, make decisions for you, and act on your behalf. And if the debt relief company collects fees from you, but never actually makes any payments on your behalf, you will still be responsible for those outstanding payments, interest accruals, and late fees.
If you’ve seen an ad or received a call from a debt relief company promising to pay off your loans, don’t take them up on it. In case you get a questionable message promising student loan forgiveness and are not sure what to make of it, be on the lookout for any unusual capitalization, incorrect grammar or spelling, or unfinished sentences. These errors are sure signs of a scam.
If you suspect a scam is involving your FSA ID, or in case you share it with someone, make sure you log into the site and change the password immediately. You should also check your account info (contact email, address, and telephone number) to be sure it is still accurate.
In the event that you have already been scammed, you must act quickly and pursue one or even all of these options:
- Get in touch with your federal loan servicer to verify that no undesirable steps have been taken on your loans (or revoke any authorization agreement that your servicer has on file).
- Stop paying the company that is defrauding you and get in touch with your bank or credit card company immediately.
- File a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) or the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB).
You can also do your own investigation with the help of people finder services like ClickSearch. This premium search engine is specifically programmed to search for information about people and all relevant information connected to them. If you receive an offer to cancel out your student loans, and you think that it might be a scam, try to talk him or her into giving you their name. If you manage to get a name, immediately run it on ClickSearch’s site in order to get more information about them in real-time. Find out if they really are working for the company they claim to be. You can even find out if they are using other aliases so you can be aware if they call you again using another name.
Not able to get a name from your caller? No worries. Click Search also offers a reverse phone number search. This feature allows you to get the same information on a person simply by entering the phone number they used to call you.
In whatever case, it always helps to be educated on things that concern your finances and personal information. Always keep in mind that if an offer is too good to be true, it almost always is.
How much student loan can I get?
Undergraduates can borrow up to $12,500 annually and $57,500 total in federal student loans.
What type of loan is best for students?
A subsidized loan is your best option. With these loans, the federal government pays the interest charges for you while you’re in college.
Why do I get calls for student loans?
If you’re behind on your payments, you may receive legitimate calls about your student loans. But don’t assume that a call is legitimate simply because you’re behind on your loans.
How do I stop fake student loan calls?
Register your phone number with the National Do Not Call Registry. You may register online or by calling 1-888-382-1222
Tiffany is a lead writer who has a passion for all of the latest use of technology. Tiffany has been writing and delivering the latest app reviews and news for ClickSearch. She is an unbelievable author and continues to produce must-read content.