KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — For people who may have a student loan, there’s a warning from the Federal Trade Commission. Student loan robocall scams have surged recently as interest on student loans started accruing again in September and current and former students must start making federal student loan payments on October 1.
Scammers are aware there’s a lot of confusion and they want to be a part of that. Many of these callers will want you to sign up for a bogus loan program, according to the FTC. If you do sign up, you’ll likely have to pay a fee in advance. Scammers may already have some information about you. So be aware, just because somebody has part of your social security number, knows where you went to school, knows some personal information about you, that doesn’t make it legitimate.
“I’m alarmed and I’m nervous. I don’t know where to go from here, to be honest. The interest, it’s like it keeps you trapped,” said former student, Ashley Robinson.
Scammers know that millions of people have federal student loans and owe thousands of dollars in student loan debt. The payments are set to restart just months after the Supreme Court struck down President Biden’s initial student loan forgiveness plan.
“This is an opportunity for scammers to take advantage of the situation that’s been put to bed for the last three years,” said Tony Binkley, president of the Better Business Bureau of Greater East Tennessee.
He said many can be confused by the on-again, off-again talk of student loan forgiveness.
“When these loan forgivenesses was talked about there were all kinds of scams. Now that they are going to restart these scammers are coming out and saying, ‘hey, we can help you make this go away or reduce it. All you’ve got to do is pay us a fee.’ That right there is a tip-off to the rip-off,” said Binkley.
If someone says they need money upfront to help you pay your loans down, you don’t need their service.
“They’re contacting you, usually without your knowledge, unsolicited. They want you to act fast, act now. So you don’t have a chance to think about this,” said Binkley. “What they’re trying to do is get you to call and they’re going to tell you that they can help you and all they need is a small fee. But they may ask you things to verify your account so we need your social security number or your login information. They’re looking for personal information from you so they can get more of your money and not help you.”
The Federal Trade Commission offers these tips to avoid falling victim to a scam:
- Don’t give away your FSA ID login information. Only scammers will ask for this.
- Don’t trust people who promise debt relief or loan forgiveness, even if they claim to be from the U.S. Department of Education. Instead, log into your student loan account to review your options.
“You should never ever give anybody any money upfront to help you offset the debt, to lower it, or whatever they promise you because it’s not real,” said Binkley.
Some of the fake student loan payment offers might include lowering the borrowers’ monthly payments, avoiding repayment or getting your loans forgiven. Be skeptical if you get one of these calls. The best source of information on your federal student loans is Studentaid.gov.