How to stay protected from student loan scammers on the prowl
The Biden administration announced last Wednesday that it would be forgiving up to $20,000 in undergraduate student loans.
Some borrowers have already seen their accounts updated, but others will have to apply for the benefit in October.
That amount may not clear the accounts for all, though, and scammers may be on the prowl promising to help eliminate any remaining debt.
Do not pay any up-front fees
It is illegal for student debt relief companies to charge you before administering a service, the Federal Trade Commission says.
Don't sign up for quick loan forgiveness
Anyone who guarantees your eligibility for student loan forgiveness or promises they can get your loans forgiven faster than the timeline the Department of Education has laid out is a scammer.
Don't always trust a Department of Education logo
Scammers may use logos, names and seals to persuade you of their legitimacy. But if you have questions about your federal loans, visit the Department of Education's official financial website at https://studentaid.gov/.
Don't be rushed into a decision
Scammers will often make requests that are supposedly time-sensitive — such as missing a deadline to qualify for repayment plans, loan forgiveness programs or federal loan consolidations — in an effort to make you act quickly.
Never share your Federal Student Aid ID
Scammers may ask for your FSA ID in an effort to steal your identity, but you should never share your account credentials.
How to get your money back if you paid a scammer
Scammers might urge you to pay them in ways that make it harder to get your money back, but there are some steps you can take depending on the payment method you used.
How to report a scam
You can report scams to the FTC at ReportFraud.ftc.gov or your state's attorney general.
What if my devices and personal information were compromised?
If you gave the scammer personal information, such as your Social Security number, visit IdentityTheft.gov. If you shared login information, update your passwords with a secure combination of uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers and symbols.
If a scammer has access to your computer, update the device's security software, run a scan and get rid of any files that could give away too much information.
If your cell phone is compromised, contact your provider and check your bank statements for any unauthorized transactions.
Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.