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    8 People Shared How Scammers Tried To Use "Student Loan Forgiveness" Against Them, And Here's How You Can Tell They're Not Legit

    "Yesterday I got my first scam call about student loan forgiveness. I'm sure lots of desperate people with student loans will fall for it."

    Recently, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) issued a warning that scammers are taking advantage of the new student loan forgiveness plan by targeting borrowers who are desperate for relief. And sure enough, on subreddits like r/Scams, people are sharing stories about how these predatory scammers tried to use their debt against them.

    Did you hear about the student loan announcements? Scammers did, too. Never pay up front for student loan forgiveness. Only scammers will charge you in advance. Report them at https://t.co/gGdaxxrxVw. More: https://t.co/zMo3lUMt3N #studentloans #studentloanforgiveness

    Twitter: @FTC

    In case you somehow missed it, the Biden Administration announced a plan to forgive up to $20,000 in student loan debt for Pell Grant recipients and up to $10,000 for other federal borrowers making less than $125,000 a year. Federal student loan payments are currently paused but will become active again on December 31, 2022.

    Unfortunately, scammers didn't wait long to start taking advantage of this announcement, luring stressed-out borrowers into giving up their personal information.

    To help you keep your information safe, here are eight real people's experiences with these scammers, plus how you can tell that what they're offering isn't legit:

    1. First of all, the application for student loan forgiveness isn't even out yet — it's set to be announced in October. So if anyone tells you that you need to "apply now," don't do it, it's a scam.

    october 2022 calendar

    BTW, if you want to get notified ASAP when the application does go live, you can subscribe to Federal Student Loan Borrower Updates via the Department of Education.

    2. And nobody legitimate is calling people to offer student loan forgiveness right now. If you get phone calls about anything student loan related, hang up and call your servicer directly, because the person who called you was most likely a scammer.

    person holding a smartphone with an incoming call marked scam

    3. Scammers aren't just working the phones. Unfortunately, you might also find a student loan scam in your mailbox, too.

    woman going through her mail

    4. Scammers might try and trick you into thinking they're affiliated with the government by using government logos and name-dropping agencies. Don't respond to them, and only work with your loan servicer or Federal Student Aid directly.

    5. You won't have to pay for student loan forgiveness, so anyone who tries to charge you for it is a scammer.

    hundred dollar bill hanging on a hook

    6. They might already have some of your information, and they'll use it to appear legit and trick you into revealing even more by "confirming" things like your social security number. So don't confirm anything — hang up the phone and only talk with your student loan servicer directly.

    woman talking on the phone

    7. Your chance at student loan forgiveness is not about to expire (the application isn't even open yet, remember). So anyone who says you have to act now or you'll lose it forever — you guessed it — that's a scammer.

    sand in an hourglass

    8. In some cases, scammers are even going after people who've paid off their loans in full and trying to scare them into thinking that they still owe.

    man holding a cell phone with fake stamped over a text message on the screen

    If you get contacted by one of these scammers, you can take action by reporting them to the FTC, submitting a complaint to Federal Student Aid, and submitting a complaint to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. The more info these agencies get about student loan forgiveness scammers, the more they can do to shut them down.

    And if you have mistakenly given your information to a student loan scammer, Federal Student Aid advises contacting your loan servicer and your bank and/or credit card company immediately to make sure there isn't any fraudulent activity. 

    Freezing your credit is another great free way to keep scammers from setting up new accounts in your name. 

    Have you been contacted by a student loan forgiveness scammer? Tell us about it in the comments.