September 15, 2022
INDIANA — The Biden administration recently announced the federal government would forgive up to $20,000 in federal student loans per person. Millions of Americans will benefit from student debt relief; Unfortunately, this creates a great opportunity for scammers.
As student loan holders navigate the new forgiveness program, scammers will no doubt be there to take advantage of any confusion. This happens with any major government initiative, including the rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine, the eviction moratorium, and pandemic relief programs. Always be sure to do your research before sharing personal information.
Tips for Avoiding Student Loan Forgiveness Scams
• Find out about the conditions of your student loan and the assistance program before taking action. Always do your research before sharing personal information. Go directly to official government websites, such as ED.gov and studentaid.gov, for more information.
• Never pay money for a free government program. Scammers often trick victims into paying for free government programs – or they claim that you can get extra benefits, faster benefits, etc., for a fee. A genuine government agency will not charge an advance processing fee. These are all red flags of a scam.
• Beware of cold calls, emails or text messages claiming to be from the government. In general, the government will not contact you using these methods unless you give permission.
• Beware of bogus government agencies or programs. If you’re talking to someone claiming to be a government official offering you student loan relief, do some research before agreeing to anything. Scammers often create similar government websites that look like legitimate agencies or programs.
• Think something looks suspicious? Contact the agency directly. If you have any concerns about the legitimacy of a suspected government official, hang up the phone or stop emailing/texting. Then find official contact information (look at ED.gov and studentaid.gov or other official sites) and call to verify. Then, report suspicious calls or messages.
• Be careful, even if the information comes from a friend. Even if a close friend or family member you trust has sent you the information regarding student loan relief, first make sure the claims are real.