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While federal student loans were paused for over two years due to the COVID-19 emergency forbearance period, millions of people face the hard reality of being in debt. Americans currently owe a total of $1.7 trillion in student loan debt. (Just to put this into perspective, $1 trillion is equivalent to $1,000 billion!)
Unfortunately, scammers are aware of the desperation faced by so many, and they’ll try almost anything to use this against you or your loved ones to steal your hard-earned funds.
One of the most common scams related to student loans is when someone will call and claim you qualify for student loan forgiveness. While there are legitimate programs available to assist or even forgive some loans, none of these programs are fast or easy. So, if you receive a call, text message, email, or social media message saying you qualify for student loan forgiveness, ere on the side of caution and ignore or report these messages.
A couple of major red flags to look out for are when someone claims you must submit an upfront payment to them or they request personal information such as your FSA account credentials or Social Security number. According to the Federal Trade Commission, federal agencies and loan servicers do not ask you for this information or require an up-front payment for loan forgiveness.
If you believe a scammer reached out to you, you can report this to the Federal Trade Commission, the U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, and your state’s attorney general. You can also submit a complaint to the Federal Student Aid office.
To learn more about legitimate student loan forgives, you can visit studentaid.gov.