INDIANA – The Better Business Bureau warns that scammers may use Navient’s student loan settlement to access your personal information. Even though federal loan borrowers who qualify for relief under this settlement do not need to take any action except update or create their studentaid.gov account, scammers will use tactics to their advantage.
BBB encourages graduates to carefully research trustworthy sources related to federal repayment plans before giving any information.
Watch out for companies promising to reduce debt by lowering payments through enrollment in student loan forgiveness or other programs. They may also falsely promise that in order to apply monthly payments to consumers’ student loans and to improve credit scores – all you have to do is pay a small fee so they can negotiate with the lender on your behalf. In another version, dishonest collectors claim they can save money by consolidating loans – if a minimal fee is paid. Keep all of your personal information private and never give it to an unsolicited source.
The BBB offers these tips to protect yourself from student loan scammers:
- Research the lender. Visit BBB.org to read business profiles and check out companies before working with them. The FTC has consumer education related to student loan debt relief scams at ftc.gov.
- Empty promises can lead to an empty wallet and more debt. Scammers not only falsely promise fast loan forgiveness, but also often pretend to be affiliated with the government. Never share sensitive information, such as your Federal Student Aid (FSA) ID.
- Never pay a fee upfront for help. Requesting payment in advance to reduce or get rid of your student loan debt is a huge red flag. Paying it could mean you’re not seeing it come back, or the debt relief you seek.
- Report it. If you have been a victim of a suspected scam, report it at BBB.org/ScamTracker.
Visit StudentAid.gov for federal student loan repayment options. Student loans can be forgiven only under specific circumstances, so contact your lender directly to see if any options are available to you.
If it seems too good to be true, it probably is. A company that claims it can erase student loan debt in minutes is not being honest. This type of scheme is similar to a government imposter scam, watch for the warning signs.
Look for additional resources at BBB.org.