BBB warns of student loan scams amid upcoming loan relief applications

Student loan forgiveness scams could increase with applications
Published: Oct. 10, 2022 at 10:44 PM CDT
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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - Applications for President Biden’s student loan relief program are expected to launch online this week and that means you could have access to thousands of dollars in student loan forgiveness.

The U.S. Department of Education is expected to launch the application for student debt relief within the next week, but government officials warn there could also be an increase in scams just trying to get your information or money.

Garet Smitherman with the Better Business Bureau said you will probably see emails, calls and fake texts. He said since this is a federal program, anyone, even a friend, reaching out and soliciting you is likely a scammer or a hacker.

He said the government will never call you to apply for a program.

Smitherman said the first step is to know the details of your loans and if you even qualify for the relief program. Officials with the Department of Education said you won’t need to upload any documents to the application, so if someone is asking for photos, it is another sign of a scam.

This is a free application and program, so Smitherman said never pay any money, there is no way to skip the line or reserve the relief. He said investigate the website you’re putting your information in.

“They’ll put in there ‘this is not an official website of the U.S. government’, but then at the same time, they will steal a government seal and use it illegally,” Smitherman said. “They are sort of covering their tracks, but visually they are making it appear that is exactly what they are. So, slow down and make sure you’re on the right site.”

Smitherman said always make sure your website has “.gov” and never click links sent to you. He said another sign is them saying you need to act fast or have urgency. You will have until Dec. 31, to submit your application.

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