Students are some of the most susceptible to loan scams out there because students are likely to be young, inexperienced, and being crushed by debt. Scammers prey upon students with a couple of different kinds of scams which can be hard to spot if you’re not experienced or you’re not paying attention. But if you know what to look for, you will be able to spot loan scams before you fall for them.
The “advanced fee” scam.
If someone calls you and tells you they can get you the best interest rate and terms for your loan—at a small fee, of course—it’s too good to be true. You should never have to pay money to get help with a federal loan. When someone calls and asks you to pay for their help, they’re looking to make a profit off of you.
The “debt elimination” scam.
This one really is too good to be true. Unless you deal with the Department of Education directly, you will always have to repay a loan. So if someone contacts you to say they can wipe your debt away, they can’t. Even if they say they can lower your monthly loan payments, they can’t. You can work with the federal government for these types of things, but no other company will be able to help you.
The “law firm lawsuit” scam.
Sometimes, people pretending to be a law firm will contact you to say they can settle your student loans for much less than you actually owe. Alas, not so. These scams will say that you were referred to them by a “student aid company.” They’ll ask you to make the full payment to the law firm itself, whereupon they will negotiate the debt with the lender. But of course they don’t—they won’t make any payments while negotiating, and your loans could go into default.
The “loan consolidation” scam.
While it is possible to work with the federal government to have them pay off your debts so that you only owe them, no other organization can do that for you. Furthermore, there should never be a fee for consolidation loans. No processing fees or administrative fees should be requested.
If you suspect you’re being targeted by a scam, do not give out any of your information. If you see the service being advertised on Facebook or other social media, it’s likely to be a scam. Report it if you find one, and always investigate the company that’s contacted you.