As college graduates toss their caps and embark on the next phase of their lives, they also face new financial responsibilities, including the initiation of student loan repayments. Unfortunately, their lack of experience makes them prime targets for scammers.
One prevalent method scammers employ to target college graduates is through fraudulent loan forgiveness opportunities. Unsolicited emails, phone calls, or text messages may claim that you qualify for reduced payments through a debt forgiveness program. They ask you to fill out a form and pay a fee to access their services. While some of these companies may be legitimate, they often promote their services with false claims and insufficient information. On the other hand, many of these companies are outright fakes, aiming solely to obtain your personal information and money. Just this month, the Federal Trade Commission announced the cessation of two student loan relief schemes.
To help new grads avoid falling victim to common scams, the Better Business Bureau provides the following tips:
Remember that you don’t need to pay for assistance in managing your student loans. For federal student loans, visit StudentAid.gov/repay. If you have private loans, directly contact your loan servicer, as they are obligated to provide free assistance.
Before engaging with any company, research the lender thoroughly. Visit BBB.org to access business profiles and assess companies before committing to them. The Federal Trade Commission also offers consumer education regarding student loan debt relief scams at ftc.gov/StudentLoans. Additionally, consider consulting your college’s financial aid office for information about the company in question.
Exercise caution when dealing with government imposters. Scammers often employ counterfeit seals, logos, or pretend to represent government agencies like the Department of Education.
Protect your personal information at all costs. Refrain from sharing sensitive details such as your FSA ID. Only provide your credit card or bank account number if you are certain about the legitimacy of the organization requesting it.
For information on federal student loan repayment options, visit StudentAid.gov. Remember that student loan forgiveness is only possible under specific circumstances, so reach out directly to your lender to explore any available options.