Student loan forgiveness scams are on the rise. The announcement of new payment relief plans has changed the normal rules surrounding student loans. That’s created confusion among borrowers.
Scammers thrive in confusion. If their targets don’t have the facts straight, they’re easy prey. Even savvy borrowers might find it hard to tell the difference between a scam and legitimate forgiveness and relief efforts.
The good news is that there are ways to identify and protect yourself from student loan scams. Below are two lists of Do’s and Don’ts provided by the U.S. Department of Education to help students protect themselves against scammers.
Take These Steps to Protect Yourself
- Sign up at ed.gov/subscriptions to be notified when the Student Loan Debt Relief application becomes available. UPDATE: The application to request debt relief was released online Oct. 18, 2022, and then later removed when program was blocked by court decisions.
- Log in to your Federal Student Aid (FSA) account on StudentAid.gov and confirm your contact info is up to date. If you don’t have an FSA ID, you can create one. You will not need it for the debt relief application, but having an FSA ID can allow you to easily access accurate information on your loan and make sure FSA can contact you directly.
- Make sure your loan servicer has your most current contact information. If you don’t know who your servicer is, you can log into StudentAid.gov and see your servicer(s) in your account.
- Report scammers to the Federal Trade Commission by visiting ftc.gov.
Avoid These Mistakes at All Costs
- DON’T pay anyone who contacts you with promises of debt relief or loan forgiveness. YOU DO NOT NEED TO PAY ANYONE TO OBTAIN DEBT RELIEF. The application will be free when it opens in October.
- DON’T reveal your FSA ID, account information or password to anyone who contacts you. The Department of Education and your federal student loan servicer will never call or email you asking for this information.
- DON’T ever give personal or financial information to an unfamiliar caller. When in doubt, hang up and call your student loan servicer.
- DON’T refinance your federal student loans unless you know the risks. If you refinance federal student loans that are eligible for debt relief into a private loan, you will lose out on benefits like one-time debt relief and flexible repayment plans for federal loans.
Key Things to Remember (TL;DR)
Here are the key takeaways:
Additional Support and Resources
You can find all of the details about federal student loan debt relief at StudentAid.gov/loancancellation.
If you have questions, you can contact your servicer or Student Connections. We work on behalf of schools to provide federal student loan repayment counseling. We can be reached at (866) 311-9450, Monday through Friday, 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. ET. We also can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.