NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — College students and borrowers are anxiously awaiting updates since President Joe Biden announced his student loan forgiveness plan.
Now, scammers are using that anxiety to trap victims.
The calls and messages might look legit, anyone could fall for it. Jennifer Guluzy at Southern Connecticut State University almost did.
“It sounded so real, and I don’t typically fall for scams over the phone, but anything to do with college or student loans, I will immediately pick up and get information on,” she said.
According to the White House, an estimated 450,200 people in Connecticut are eligible for student debt relief. The Better Business Bureau said scammers are taking advantage of borrowers and their eagerness.
Scammers might claim they’re with a student loan service or the federal government to gain trust. They’ll use phrases like, “Our records indicate you may be eligible for student loan forgiveness, but never completed the required documents” to scare victims into sharing information like their name, address, and social security number. Scammers will then use this information to either steal an identity or get their victims to make fake payments to them.
Kristen Johnson, director of communications for the Better Business Bureau Serving Connecticut, said anytime someone pressures you about money and say you need to make a decision quickly, it’s a red flag and you should report that person.
In general, the government will not contact you about your loans by phone, email, or text. Loan forgiveness is a free government service. If a caller says you need to pay a processing fee, it’s a scam.
If you think a message is suspicious, double-check with your loan servicer.
According to the U.S. Department of Education, an application to receive debt relief will be available by early October. Borrowers have to apply by Nov. 15 to receive student loan forgiveness before the federal payment pause ends on Jan. 1, 2023. For more information about these important dates, click here.
If you’ve spotted a student loan forgiveness scam (whether or not you’ve lost money), report it to BBB.org/ScamTracker.