Our infographic highlights red flags for student loan borrowers to watch out for.
Numerous student loan borrowers recently submitted complaints to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) about companies that promised them student loan forgiveness or loan forbearance in exchange for fees amounting to hundreds or thousands of dollars. Borrowers believed they were talking to their servicer or a company authorized by the Department of Education because they often knew private information such as the borrower’s loan balance or recent consolidation activity. This is fraud.
Legitimate options for getting rid of your federal student loans as of August 2022:
In addition to submitting complaints to the CFPB and the , we encourage consumers to learn how to recognize these scams and how to report scammers to authorities.
Scammers often attempt to charge for programs that all borrowers can access for free, including preparing the paperwork. or discharge (to the extent those programs are available to you), , student loan forbearance and deferment are all free programs provided by your servicer. If a company is asking you to pay large amounts of money upfront, it is likely a scam and should be reported. Do not give any money or personal information to the company. Contact your loan servicer to determine what options are available to you. You can find out who your servicer is by or calling 1-800-433-3243.
Scammers might tell you that you only have 24 hours to take advantage of an offer or program. This is a red flag. Most government-offered programs do not require this sense of urgency. Confirm whether this is a legitimate company before you take any additional steps.
This is warning sign that this company is not working in your best interest. As a student loan borrower, it’s important for you to maintain communication with your servicer. If someone urges you to make payments to their company instead of your loan servicer or to stop communicating with your loan servicer, do not give them any information. Do not stop making payments to your servicer.
Scammers might name drop organizations that you have a loan account with. Be careful of statements like “we work with Department of Education” or “we’re partnered with your loan servicer.” If someone contacts you and claims to be partnered with your loan servicer, hang up the phone and contact your loan servicer directly to confirm. Call the number provided on your billing statement or through your servicer’s web portal. Do not use contact information provided in an email or voicemail message.
There might be times when your student loan servicer contacts you about Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF). As part of a recent settlement with the CFPB, Edfinancial, a federal student loan servicer, is required to contact all of its Federal Family Education Loan Program (FFELP) borrowers to inform them of the so that eligible borrowers can take advantage of the waiver before it expires.
Scammers often ask for personal information like your full Social Security number, bank account number, FSA ID or studentaid.gov password. Do not give any personal information to an unverified company over the phone. If you suspect the caller may be a scammer, hang up and to determine if there are any actions required for your loan. If you have provided your personal information to a scammer, we have listed some tips for avoiding scams below.
For additional information regarding student loan scams and actions the Bureau and the FTC have taken against scammers, please see the .
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