If you get a call from someone who confesses that she or he is a lender or loan servicer and they offer to pay off your student loans, don’t believe it. It is because there are student loan forgiveness scams who prey on desperate people. Here, there are some tips to avoid student loan forgiveness scams according to the Federal Student Aid.
Avoiding Student Loan Forgiveness Scams
According to the Federal Student Aid site, here are the things that you are able to do to avoid student loan forgiveness scams.
- You have to keep an eye out for these common scams. Below, you can read some examples of false claims that you may receive.
- “Act immediately to be eligible for student loan forgiveness before the program is discontinued.”
- “Your student loans may be eligible for complete discharge. Enrollments are first come, first served.”
- “Student alerts: Your student loan is flagged for forgiveness pending verification. Call now!”
The U.S. Department of Education (ED) may be able to reach out to highlight temporary programs like the limited PSLF waiver. However, aggressive advertising language which is used as the examples above will not be used by ED or Federal Student Aid partners.
Usually, scammers will often ask for an up-front or monthly fee and they promise immediate and total cancellation. They can even ask for your FSA ID including your account username and password. These things must be red flags. Most government forgiveness programs need years of qualifying payments and/ or employment in certain fields before forgiving loans. And ED and its partners will not ask for your FSA ID password.
Let’s say that you get a suspicious message where it promises student loan forgiveness and you are not sure what to do, you have to keep an eye out for any unusual capitalization, incomplete sentences or improper grammar. These kinds of mistakes indicate that it may be a scam.
- Make sure that you do not pay for help with loan debt relief. Let’s say that you are having difficulty paying for your student loans. If so, the first step that you can do is to contact your loan servicer. There are some debt relief companies which will charge a fee for services that you and your servicer are able to work out together and it is free. If you want to consolidate multiple federal student loans, lower your monthly loan payment, switch to a new repayment plan or see if you are eligible for loan forgiveness, ED and the affiliated federal loan servicers will be able to help. If you get help from a private, unaffiliated debt relief company, it does not mean that you will be scammed. However, if you seek out unverified services, it is a common way to stumble into a student loan forgiveness scam.
- You have to confirm that you are working with a U.S. Department of Education partner.
ED cooperates with a lot of private companies such as lenders and servicers. It is done to support federal student loans and borrowers alike. If you want to avoid student loan forgiveness scams, you need to know who they are and what services they provide.
A federal loan servicer is able to help you with repayment plans, loan consolidation and other tasks related to your student loans. Let’s say that you need help with your federal student loans and you are needing some form of student loan forgiveness. If so, you have to make sure that you contact an ED-affiliated company that you are able to trust.
Below, you are able to see the list of Federal Student Aid contracted federal loan servicers before you reach out to a potential partner.
Federal Loan Servicers’ Contact Information
According to the Federal Student Aid site, here is a list of federal loan servicers’ contact information.
- FedLoan Servicing (PHEAA)
Phone number: 1-800-699-2908
Fax number: 717-720-1628
- Great Lakes Educational Loan Services, Inc
Phone number: 1-800-236-4300
Fax number: 800-375-5288
- HESC/ Edfinancial
Phone number: 1-855-337-6884
Fax number: 800-887-6130
Phone number: 1-888-866-4352
Fax number: 866-222-7060
Phone number: 1-800-722-1300
Fax number: 866-266-0178
Phone number: 1-888-486-4722
Fax number: 877-402-5816
- OSLA Servicing
Phone number: 1-866-264-9762
Fax number: 855-813-2224
Phone number: 1-866-313-3797
Fax number: 844-365-8101
What Do We Have To Do If We Are Scammed?
As explained on the Federal Student Aid, if you find that you are in the process of being scammed, you have to act fast and do one or all of the options below.
- You have to contact your federal loan servicer. It is done to make sure that there is no unwanted action which were taken on your loans or to revoke any authorization agreement that your servicer has on file.
- You have to contact your bank or credit card company to stop all payments to the company that is scamming you.
- You have to submit a complaint to Federal Student Aid.
- You have to file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).
- You have to file a complaint with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB).
What Do I Have To Do If I Have Uncovered a Potential Student Loan Forgiveness Scam
Let’s say that you find what might be a student loan forgiveness scam. If so, you have to let Federal Student Aid know. You have to submit a complaint with Federal Student Aid to file a report of suspicious activity.
If the scam involves your FSA ID or you may have shared your FSA ID details with someone whom you now suspect to be a scammer, the thing that you have to do is to log in and then you need to change your account password immediately. Also, you need to check your account information such as contact email, phone number and address to make sure that it is still accurate. Lastly, you still need to file a complaint so that they will be able to monitor your account for continued suspicious activity. Once again, it is important for you to note that ED and Federal Student Aid partners will never ask for your FSA ID password.