CHICOPEE, Mass. (WWLP) – The rollout of the Biden Administration’s plan to cancel some federal student loan debt has just started, and scammers are finding ways to take advantage of any confusion.
According to a news release sent to 22News from BBB Scam Alert, victims are receiving phone calls or voicemails from someone claiming to represent the new student loan forgiveness plan. The “representative” says that they can help you secure thousands of dollars in loan forgiveness.
The con artist promised to get rid of $60K of one student loan, according to a recent BBB scam tracker. One victim said, “not only had my email address but also the name of the school I attended and the last 4 digits of my social security number.”Another victim reported, “somehow knew my FAFSA account info and made me believe they work in conjunction with the loan forgiveness program.”
With most of these scam calls, the “representative” says that you need to pay an initial fee, which typically is several hundred dollars spread over a couple of months. After this, when the current pause on current loan forgiveness ends, your loan will be forgiven.
Unfortunately, these scammers have no association with the official student debt relief plan. Anything you pay to them will just go into the scammers’ pockets and will do nothing to help relieve any of your student loans.
Here are some tips to avoid student loan forgiveness scams:
- When in doubt, contact the government agency directly. If you receive a message that seems legitimate but you aren’t sure, stop communicating with the person who contacted you. Then, verify their claims by contacting the government agency they say they represent. For details on the student loan forgiveness program, visit ED.gov or StudentAid.gov.
- Never pay fees for a free government program. Government agencies will never ask you to pay a fee to benefit from a free government program. Don’t let scammers persuade you otherwise. Con artists may say the fee will get you relief faster or will unlock additional benefits, but that is all part of the scam.
- Think twice about unsolicited calls, emails, or text messages. Usually, government agencies won’t reach out to you unless you request it. Out-of-the-blue communications are a red flag.
- Don’t give in to scare tactics. If someone claims you’ll miss out if you don’t act immediately, be wary. This urgency is all-too-common tactic scammers use on their victims. Instead of responding, stop communications until you can verify what they say is true.