Monday, August 29, 2022
Last week, the federal government announced big changes to student loan repayment and relief, and scammers are looking to take advantage. The government plans to cancel up to $20,000 in federal student loans per borrower and extend the payment pause on federal student loan repayments through the end of the year. It also recently announced important changes to public service loan forgiveness (PSLF) and income-driven repayment plans.
These changes will make a real difference in the financial futures for millions of Americans with student loan debt. But as always, scammers will seize on this good news to steal your money and personal information. Follow these tips to avoid getting scammed:
- If an unknown caller or email sender asks for your personal information, including your Federal Student Aid ID (FSA ID), don’t respond. Your loan servicer and the Department of Education (DOE) will not ask you for personal information over the phone or in an email.
- Be patient. Anyone promising instant debt relief is a scammer. The DOE will need time to implement the new programs and get relief to borrowers. No company can help you speed up the process. You can subscribe for updates from the DOE here.
- Never pay upfront for assistance with your student loan debt. Under North Carolina law, it’s illegal for companies to charge a fee to modify debts.
- Contact your loan servicer directly with any questions. Your loan servicer can help you get access to qualifying programs, like debt relief or repayment options. Make sure you ask if you qualify for PSLF or income-driven repayment. Some borrowers who need additional assistance may consider contacting a credit counselor with a credit counseling organization accredited by the National Foundation for Credit Counseling or a private attorney licensed in North Carolina with expertise in student loans and bankruptcy law.
To find out whether you’re eligible for loan forgiveness or payment plan changes through the federal government’s actions, click here. To find out if you’re eligible for PSLF, click here, and know that the deadline to apply for PSLF is October 31, 2022.
By steering clear of scammers, student loan borrowers can ensure they get their qualifying relief safely. If you believe that you have been the victim of a scam, contact our office’s Consumer Protection Division at https://ncdoj.gov/file-a-complaint or 1-877-5-NO-SCAM.