June 16, 2024

Are you frequently hearing about federal student loan forgiveness in the news? You’re certainly not the only one. Scammers are also paying close attention. You might receive a call from an individual claiming to be associated with Federal Student Aid (FSA) or the Department of Education. However, they’re not. They’ll assert that they’re following up on your eligibility for a new loan forgiveness scheme, and they might even know certain details about your loan, such as the balance or your account number. They’ll attempt to push you to take action quickly by claiming that the scheme is limited time-only. But beware: it’s all a ruse. So, how do you spot scams like this?

The only legitimate platform for managing your federal student loans is StudentAid.gov. Contrastingly, the FSA (and your federal loan servicer) will never coerce you into signing up for any program — but a fraudster would. And, recognizing what’s fake can sometimes be easier if you know how to identify what’s real. And for that, here are some pointers:

  • Don’t trust government seals or logos. Fraudsters use these official-looking symbols to appear more convincing.
  • Ignore promises of exclusive access. There’s no secret entrance to repayment plans or loan forgiveness schemes. No one can qualify you for a loan forgiveness program you’re not eligible for or erase your loans. To see the programs for which you might qualify, use your FSA account dashboard.
  • Never make upfront payments. Companies charging you before providing assistance to reduce or eliminate your student loan debt are acting illegally. And, if you pay upfront, you’re at risk of getting no help and losing your money. Obtain free help managing your federal loans at StudentAid.gov/repay. If you have private loans, contact your loan servicer directly for assistance.
  • Never disclose your FSA ID login details. Only fraudsters claim they need this information to assist you. If a scammer gains access to your FSA ID, they could disconnect you from your loan servicer or even carry out identity theft.

To defend yourself against student loan scams, take advantage of FSA’s resources here. If you encounter a student loan scam, report it to the FTC at: ReportFraud.ftc.gov.