With graduation just around the corner and college plans already taking shape for a lot of students, this is the time of year when students put in a lot of work in finding sources of financial aid. However, scammers are working just as hard in order to take advantage of students who are trying to spend wisely for higher education with student loan scams. Here are just a few of the ways scammers can put a very expensive damper on your plans.
For a hefty fee and access to all of your sensitive information, some notorious sites will claim to seek out scholarships that you are eligible for. The problem is that you still have to do the work of applying for them. So, all this company did was take your money, input your information into a large search database—one that the public can also access for themselves—and send you the results. They literally got paid to do what you could have done for free, only they were hoping you did not know that. This is a classic student loan scam.
“Guaranteed” Acceptance Aid
Any form of financial aid that tells you it is guaranteed is probably a scam. After all, there are a lot of factors at play when it comes to approving requests for financial aid. Your FAFSA form is your first step in filing for financial aid, so start there at FAFSA.gov.
Yes, our country is stronger when its young people can access the kinds of educational and work opportunities they desire. However, any company that contacts you relentlessly—whether by email, phone, text or social media ad—has another interest in mind, and that is getting money from you. To avoid a student loan scam, stay away from any website, platform or company that goes with high-pressure, act-now sales pitches.
Loan Erasure Scams
While student loan debt can be a burden for a lot of people, scammers are making it a lot worse. By claiming to offer services that “erase” or forgive your student loans—which are nothing more than government programs that anyone can apply for on their own—scammers take your money in the form of application fees and steal your identifying information. Then they leave you with just as much debt as you had before.
When it comes to student loan scams, a good rule of thumb is to be very wary of anyone who wants your personally identifiable information or who insists on upfront fees. If you do a little bit of homework, you might discover that the company is charging you money for nothing in return. Stay safe this student loan scam season by not falling for the scammer’s tricks.
If you believe you are a victim of identity theft, you can call the Identity Theft Resource Center toll free at 888.400.5530 to speak with one of our advisors or live chat with an advisor on our website. They will help you create an action plan for your case while directing you on the next steps you need to take.
For on-the-go identity assistance, check out the free ID Theft Help App from ITRC.
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