For decades, outstanding student loan debts have plagued Americans. Desperate to get a college education, millions have plunged into debt, hoping that the jobs that they'll eventually secure after graduation will allow them to erase it and build a prosperous future. Unfortunately, things don't always go according to plan. The nation's student loan debt hit a jaw-dropping $1.58 trillion in the first quarter of 2021. Naturally, many students are looking for ways to receive student loan forgiveness and relieve themselves of some of their debt. Aware of these young people's desperation, scammers pretend to offer student loan forgiveness, only to exploit their victims, then plunge them further into debt. To avoid the same mistake, here's how to determine whether or not the student loan forgiveness is real and the best way to find legitimate debt relief.
While student loan forgiveness scams take many forms, some cons are more prevalent than others. Firstly, any company asking for an initial upfront fee shouldn't be trusted, especially since student loan forgiveness providers offer free assistance. It's also important to note that debt relief companies cannot talk directly to your creditors, so any company offering immediate loan forgiveness is clearly a scammer. If the company asks you to sign a power of attorney to talk to your creditor themselves, they're a fraudster. It's also a good general principle to never let someone else handle financial affairs on your behalf. Finally, remain skeptical of debt relief companies claiming to be associated with the federal government. While they may sport convincing-looking logos or websites, it's crucial to conduct background checks to ensure their legitimacy. Now let's explore techniques to implement to avoid such scams.
How to avoid student loan forgiveness scams
Now that you're familiar with the scam warning signs, it's time to search for legitimate student debt relief. But how do you determine if a company is the "real deal?" Prior to investigating a debt relief company, contact your loan servicer. There's always a chance they can resolve your issue for free! In addition to helping with repayment plans, they also can assist with forms of forgiveness. If unsure about who your loan servicer is, you can find out by logging in to your Federal Student Aid account. Ultimately, in order to verify the legitimacy of your loan servicer, you should check to see that they're indeed a partner of the U.S. Department of Education. Here is a list of legitimate loan servicers.
What if I've already been scammed?
Have you already been the victim of a student loan forgiveness scam? In that case, you'll want to act as quickly as possible so that neither your money nor personal information is stolen. It's advisable to immediately change the password to your Federal Student Aid account or perhaps even the email address associated with the account. You should also report the scam to the authorities. The Federal Trade Commission, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, and your state attorney are all on the hunt for student loan forgiveness scammers. What's more, they rely on self-reporting victims to learn about scammers. Finally, there's the option to take legal action.