5 sure-fire ways to spot a student loan scam Personal finance
4. The sales staff seem arrogant
If you’ve ever been told that you need to sign something right away without first reviewing a contract or request, you should be on the defensive. For one thing, you are unlikely to find “deals” on student loan assistance programs. If you browse student loan refinance options, you might qualify for the lowest interest rate, which has nothing to do with a limited term agreement and everything to do with your outstanding credit rating.
5. They claim to be linked to the government
The only company that handles your student loan is your student loan manager. The federal government contracts with these companies, like Navient FedLoan Servicing, but they don’t work with other companies to handle forgiveness or relief.
Be careful with scammers who use federal government language and logos. If you are unsure if there is a legitimate affiliation, contact your loan officer or the US Department of Education to find out the truth.
5 student loan scams to avoid
The good news, if there is any, is that most student loan and student loan cancellation scams fall into a few recognizable categories. Top student loan scams to avoid include:
- Student loan consolidation scams. You can consolidate your loans through the federal government for free. If a business asks you for money to consolidate your loans, that’s not a real program.
- Student Loan Debt Elimination Scams. The only way to get rid of your debt is to pay it off yourself or qualify for forgiveness through your repayment plan or by meeting certain eligibility criteria. Beware of a company that promises quick debt relief through forgiveness or other means.
- Advance fee scams. This is when a business charges an upfront fee to refinance your loan. You shouldn’t pay a company to refinance your loan before it is refinanced. If there are any fees, like a loan origination fee, they’re usually built into your loan payments after you’ve applied and been approved.
- Legal scams. Many large student loan administrators have millions of clients and sometimes various pending or recently settled lawsuits. Navient, for example, has 10 million customers. If a business contacts you about a recent lawsuit through a major loan manager and requests a loan forgiveness promising fees, it’s not real.
- Student loan forgiveness scams. This can be a standalone scam or added to another one listed above. Only the Department of Education offers forgiveness programs to federal student loan borrowers. If a business contacts you about forgiveness, beware. Canceling a private student loan is extremely rare, so you shouldn’t let a company convince you otherwise.