With student loan debt payments on hold, stay alert for scammers

RALEIGH, NC (WNCN) — With the federal government extending the pause on student loan repayments through the end of August, this is the perfect opportunity for student loan scammers to try to benefit.

The US Department of Education says student borrowers collectively owe $1.6 trillion in federal and private student loans. NerdWallet says that averages out to $28,950 per person who earns a bachelor’s degree.

With debt this high, people are looking for ways to reduce or eliminate payments.

“One of the biggest scams out there are companies that aren’t legit and claim they can reduce or completely eliminate your student loans for a small fee,” said Alyssa Parker of BBB Eastern North Carolina’s Better Business Bureau. .

The BBB says scammers will prey on consumers with student loans promising to lower their payments through loan forgiveness or other programs.

“Really beware of anyone approaching you for student loans to completely evaporate,” Parker said.

Many of these scammers will use social engineering tricks on you regarding your loans.

Here are some precautions to take when talking to someone about your student loan debt:

  • Never pay an upfront fee for help
  • Never accept anything over the phone
  • Ask the company to send you the offer in writing

“If you are a victim of a student loan scam, change your password, change your username, and change the email address the loan account is linked to,” Parker said. “That way, they no longer have access to it.

If you want your student loan forgiven, the only agency that can do that is the US Department of Education. And it’s a long and complicated process involving tons of paperwork.

No third party company can get your loan reduced or canceled no matter what they claim.

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