Student loan borrowers warned about debt forgiveness scams
HARRISBURG, Pa. (WTAJ) – The Pennsylvania Department of Banking and Securities (DoBS) and the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) on Thursday warned student borrowers about increasing debt forgiveness scams.
The scams are said to target people facing financial hardship caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and seeking relief on their student loan debt. Bank and Securities Secretary Richard Vague said those who receive an email, letter or call regarding student debt cancellation should take a break before sending or confirming information personal.
“With the pandemic continuing, many consumers are looking for financial relief,” Vague said. “Like other scams, these perpetrators prey on people’s hope and vulnerability, creating an ideal scenario for taking advantage of them.”
The ministry says a slight increase in personal and business scams is a result of confusion surrounding multiple changes to student loan payments, such as the recent pandemic-related loan payment hiatus, the public is calling for. a generalized discount of loans, various executive actions, benefits and concerning loan balances.
“Many students and families across Pennsylvania borrow money to help fund post-secondary education, resulting in debt that can take years to pay off,” Education Secretary Dr. Noe Ortega said. “It is important that borrowers looking for student loan debt relief be aware of the associated scams and avoid them at all costs. “
Borrowers are advised to take the following steps to guard against these types of scams:
- Be skeptical. Scammers often obtain student loan information illegally. Just because someone has information about your loans doesn’t mean they should be trusted.
- Search for the company. Check the validity of the company contacting you as many “companies” run by scammers don’t actually exist.
- Exercise due diligence. Check what program is available to you. Some scams offer to sign up for programs like the “CARES Law Loan Discount” or “Biden’s Discount Program”, which do not exist.
- Verify this email address. Make sure that emails sent to you regarding your student loans come from a dot-gov (.gov) email address.
- Be aware of what legitimate programs will ask you and not ask you. Proceed with caution before sharing any of your sensitive or financial information like a social security number or credit and banking information. If in doubt, hang up and call your repairer directly.
- Pause before acting. Confirm all correspondence or calls with your technician before taking any action.
What should you do if you think you’ve been scammed before? :
- Closure of accounts / Stop payment: If you’ve shared your bank account or credit card information with a scammer, immediately contact your bank or credit card company to close your accounts or stop payments.
- Alert your repairer. If you think you’ve been the victim of a student loan forgiveness scam, call your service agent so they can monitor your account.
- Monitor your credit report. Check for suspicious activity. Scammers don’t always use your information right away. It may take weeks, months, or even years for your information to be used for fraudulent purposes. You can also consider freezing your credit very cautiously.
- Report the scam. You can report a student loan forgiveness scam to:
For more information, visit the Pennsylvania Department of Education website.
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