Student loan scams are on the rise. While student loan debt can be a hassle, it could be even worse if you fall for a scam promising to help you deal with it! Here is what you need to know about the three most common student loan scams.
Student loan forgiveness scam: In this scam, a student loan debt company will reach out to you and offer to completely forgive your student loan for a relatively small fee. Your student loan, gone? Sounds like a dream! Unfortunately, it’s more like a nightmare. No student loan company would completely forgive your loan, even for a fee. The company is likely bogus and you have been targeted for a scam.
This scam attempts authenticity by sounding like Public Service Loan Forgiveness, a legitimate federal government program for public servants with federal student loans. They may even claim to be connected to the U.S. Department of Education, but that is also false. If you fall for the scam, you will still need to pay off your loan, plus you will lose the money you just shelled out. If you are looking for student loan debt relief for your federal student loan, consider enrolling in a no-cost student loan repayment plan through the federal government. This plan might offer student loan forgiveness after 20-25 years. Unfortunately, there is no other way for a student loan to be dismissed.
Student loan consolidation scam: In a scenario similar to the above scam, a student loan company will contact you promising to consolidate your loan and lower your monthly payments, all for a modest fee. Right away, you should know this as a scam.
While many institutions can refinance student loan debt, the federal government is the only entity with the power to consolidate it – and they won’t charge a fee for this service. If you are looking to consolidate your student loans, check out Studentaid.gov or call 1-800-557-7394.
Student loan tax scam: In this con, a scammer will spoof the IRS’ toll-free number and call a college student, claiming they owe thousands of dollars for a “federal student loan tax.” The scammer will demand immediate payment upon threat of arrest or a lawsuit. They will also claim to only accept specific forms of payment, like a wire transfer or prepaid debit card.
The IRS will never reach out to you by phone without first notifying you via snail mail. Nor will they demand payment over the phone or insist on a specific payment method — especially a prepaid gift card.
If you have been targeted: If you have been targeted by a student loan scam, it is crucial that you don’t engage with the scammer. Hang up as soon as you recognize a scam and delete any suspicious emails about your student loan that land in your inbox.
It is equally important for you to bring the scam to the attention of the authorities to help them capture those scammers. You can file a complaint with the FTC at ftc.gov, alert the local law enforcement agencies, and report any tax-related scams to the IRS at 1-800-829-1040 or at IRS.gov.
To help protect yourself from fraudulent activity, make sure to utilize your Benefits Plus® checking account with SeaComm! Once you upgrade your basic checking to Benefits Plus®, you will gain access to a full range of fraud and identity-theft protection services, including fraud alerts, lost document recovery services, 90-day Purchase Protection, and much more. Click here for more information, or stop by your local SeaComm branch to enroll.
For complete information, terms, conditions and exclusions please visit www.benefits-plus.org or call 866-329-7587.
If you have student loan debt and need guidance, take advantage of SeaComm’s partnership with GreenPath Financial Wellness! This trusted program offers SeaComm members free student loan counseling, as well as student loan enhanced support and a full-suite of free resources to help you take control of your debt. Click here to get started or call 877-337-3399.