Extended student loan payment break gets criminals out of the woods


Student loan scam concept
Photo (c) designer491 – Getty Images

In April, federal officials at the US Department of Education extended until August 31, 2022 the pause in student loan payments caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. The announcement was good news for eligible consumers who needed more time to resume their payments. . Unfortunately, the crooks quickly took advantage of the situation.

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) announced today that criminals are targeting consumers with fake student loan forgiveness offers in an attempt to steal their information. In some cases, these scammers may offer victims to participate in a loan forgiveness program for which they are not eligible. In other cases, they might claim to be able to completely eliminate a borrower’s debt by disputing the charges.

The agency says consumers should disregard these too-good-to-be-true deals and should remain skeptical of messages from unofficial sources.

“If there is eventually a broader federal plan to cancel student debt, the official word will come from the Department of Education, not random calls, texts, emails, or messages on social networks. social media,” the agency said.

How to protect yourself

The FTC says there are some things people should know about student loan forgiveness. They understand:

  • There are specific federal loan relief programs. The agency says consumers can take advantage of the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) and Teacher Loan Forgiveness programs if they are eligible. They can even try to join the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Limited Waiver Program which is running right now, but it has a deadline of October 31, 2022. Those who have questions about the Loan Forgiveness Program they are eligible for should contact their loan servicer or the Department of Education directly.

  • Do not share your FSA ID. Scammers are always looking for information, so they might claim they need your FSA ID to help you achieve your loan cancellation goals. However, the FTC advises that you should never share your FSA ID with anyone, as the information can be used to gain access to your account and steal your identity.

  • You don’t need to pay for help. The FTC points out that there are many free options consumers can use to get help with loan forgiveness. If you have questions about your loans or need more information on how you can resume payments in August, the agency advises you to contact your loan officer.