The recent announcement of canceling student loans of up to $20,000 by the U.S. Department of Education has created a new opportunity for scammers.
Better Business Bureau of Middle TN and Southern KY warns consumers to be aware of rising student loan forgiveness scams.
“The student loan forgiveness program is new and unfamiliar, which means many borrows may be confused about the process,” said Robyn Householder, President & CEO of Better Business Bureau serving Middle Tennessee and Southern Kentucky. “Con artists, like clockwork, will be present to take advantage. We encourage recipients of loan forgiveness to take time and do some research. Avoid making quick decisions and unsolicited offers to assist. Both will always lead to regret.”
BBB is providing some tips to reduce confusion. First, get to know the terms of your student loan and the relief program before acting. For information, go directly to official government websites, such as ED.gov and studentaid.gov. BBB suggests never paying money for free government programs. A real government agency will not ask for an advanced processing fee. Secondly, be wary of out-of-the-blue calls, emails, or text messages claiming to be from the government. Generally, the government will not contact you using these methods unless you grant permission. Thirdly, watch out for phony government agencies or programs. Scammers often make up look-alike government websites that sound similar to legitimate agencies or programs. When visiting the website, be wary of misspelled words and keywords such as now, immediately, and quickly. Finally, information on loan forgiveness from a friend via social media may not be entirely correct. BBB has seen an alarming increase in reports on hacked social media accounts being used to spread incorrect information.
To find a reliable source for anything to do with student loans, visit the U.S. Department of Education website at ed.gov. By visiting the website, you can learn more about loan deferments, forbearance, repayment, and forgiveness or discharge programs at no cost.
If you come across a scam, report it at BBB.org/scamtracker. You can also see the latest reported scams in your area by visiting that website.
The Better Business Bureau is a nonprofit organization established in 1954. The mission of the Better Business Bureau is to be the leader in advancing marketplace trust.