Building a Digital Defense Against Student Loan Repayment Scams – FBI

Welcome to the FBI of Oregon’s Tech Tuesday segment. Today: Building a digital defense against student loan repayment scams.

As part of COVID relief efforts, the government has put a pause on the need to make payments for federal student loans. This forbearance program was originally due to expire a few weeks ago, but is now in place until May. Regardless of its expiration date, fraudsters are taking advantage of the situation to target anxious loan holders.

Bad actors use text messages, emails and even voicemails to target loan holders as they try to cash in on your stress. They offer easy ways to consolidate or even eliminate your loans. Listen :

“It’s… student loan support. Our records show that you were eligible for a loan forgiveness program, but you never completed the required paperwork. If you want to pursue this app, we need to talk to you today. Call us please…”

Our partners at the Federal Trade Commission have some helpful tips:

  • Never pay upfront fees. It is illegal for companies to charge you before helping you. Also, remember that there’s nothing a company can do for you that you can’t do yourself for free. And you never have to pay for help from the Department of Education.
  • Never give out your Federal Student Aid (FSA) ID, Social Security number, or other personal information to anyone who contacts you. Scammers posing as student loan officers can use this information to log into your account, change your contact information, and even redirect your payments to them. Instead of giving your FSA ID, call or contact your repairer.
  • Don’t sign up for a quick loan forgiveness. The scammers might say they can get rid of your loans before they know the details of your situation. Or they might promise a loan forgiveness program, which most people won’t qualify for.
  • Scammers use fake seals and logos to lure people in. They promise special access to repayment plans, new federal loan consolidations or loan forgiveness programs. This is a lie. If you have federal loans, contact the Department of Education directly at StudentAid.gov.

If you’ve fallen victim to a student loan scam, you can report it to the FTC at ReportFraud.ftc.gov.

If you are the victim of online fraud, you should report the incident to the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center at www.ic3.gov or call your local FBI office.

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