Identifying Student Loan Scams
Graduates and students often receive phone calls, emails, and mail about loan forgiveness. While it sounds great, how do you know if it’s a scam? As it turns out, most of the time, it is.
We’ve heard horror stories about students paying for help with their loans, only to find out what they paid is lost money, and their student loan balance didn’t change. Or worse, their student loan balance increased and the payment is now late, because they were working with a scammer and not their real loan servicer.
Some recent false claims the Department of Education specifically mentions include:
“Act immediately to qualify for student loan forgiveness before the program is discontinued”. The Department of Education and loan servicers will not participate in aggressive advertising like this.
“Your student loans may qualify for complete discharge. Enrollments are first come, first served.” While there are discharge options due to a total and permanent disability, it’s never first come, first served.
If it sounds like you have to hurry or you’ll miss out, it’s a scam.
“Student alerts: Your student loan is flagged for forgiveness pending verification. Call now!” Again, the Department of Education does not aggressively advertise. If it sounds like something a used car salesman would say, it’s likely to be a scam.
If you receive communication like this, always call your servicer directly. Call the number listed on your monthly bill or when you log in to your online account; do not call the number listed in that particular solicitation.
If you don’t know how to reach your servicer, call SSMT! We can provide you with an accurate phone number.
Never call a number. or click a link, in a solicitation email. Call your servicer or SSMT.
Always verify the authenticity of any solicitation you receive about your student loans. Most of the time, if you received communication via any method, there will be something in your online account as well. If you received an email or regular mail, but there’s nothing related when you log in, it might be a scam.
Your loan servicer, and the Department of Education, will never ask you to pay for help. If you’re eligible for loan forgiveness, a discharge due to disability, or anything else, while you may have to provide documentation, it’s the law that you’re eligible. They cannot and will not charge a fee to determine if you’re eligible. And if you are eligible, they cannot and will not charge you fees to process the request.
They also cannot and will not charge you any fees for processing a deferment or forbearance request or for changing your repayment plan. Under the law, borrowers may be eligible (under certain circumstances) for a deferment, forbearance, or changing their repayment plan. While it’s not guaranteed that you are eligible, your servicer will never charge to give you information, or to process your application, for any of these things.
We’re here to help! If you need information or just want a reassuring “second set of eyes” to check out the communication you received, just ask us. We’ll help you determine if it looks like it might be a scam, and we’ll help you reach out to your real loan servicer.