How To Protect Yourself From Student Load Relief Scams

May 10, 2018

© Tom Wang | Dreamstime

Graduating College is one of the best feelings of accomplishment in life. Unfortunately the reality for many are the large monthly payments due on their student loans.  With so many grads in debt, scammers are preying on them in record numbers promising to reduce, consolidate or even eliminate those debts.  The Federal Trade Commission is currently suing several companies offering student loan debt relief, claiming that they were actually charging illegal fees and failed to deliver on promises. The FTC is also alleging the companies charged a monthly fee for the entire life of the loan that was supposed to go toward repayment but did not. However there are legitimate offers of loan consolidation and reduction in monthly payments but you need to be cautious and aware of the differences between a legit offers and scams.  For instance, any company that charges you a fee upfront is a scam.  It is actually illegal for companies to charge you in advance before helping you to reduce or get rid of your student loan debt.  That rule is also true for debt relief and credit repair agencies. Paying a monthly fee is also suspect. Help obtaining or repaying student loans usually involves a one-time event, so there is no legitimate justification for charging a recurring fee. If the company promises quick results it's probably a scam, especially if they make that claim before reviewing your case. This is also true of companies who may leave voicemails, emails, texts or other messages telling you to “act immediately” to qualify for forgiveness programs before they are discontinued, or that you qualify to get your loans discharged on a “first come, first served” basis. They may even claim to be from the Department of Education. These are also scams. Never share your Federal Student Aid ID (FSA) with anyone. Scammers who get hold of your FSA can use it to get all of your other personal information from the Department of Education and continue to scam you. The safest route you can take with seeking help with your student loans is to call the Federal Student Aid Information Center at 1-800-433-3243 or visit StudentLoans.gov, and they’ll help you with lowering your monthly payments, consolidating, determining if you’re eligible for loan forgiveness or getting out of default.

SOURCE: Lifehacker

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