June 25, 2024

If an unfamiliar number promises to pay off or wipe your student loans, tread carefully! It’s likely to be a sham!

Such people often promise to manage your federal student loans. They’ll request personal details and upfront or monthly payment. Though federal loan forgiveness programs exist, they can be differentiated from scams by several warning signs:

  • Immediate loan forgiveness
    Scams promise instant relief from student loans. Federal programs providing loan forgiveness exist but don’t offer immediate relief. They come with requirements like working in a particular sector for specified duration and loan forgiveness takes time.
  • Payment requests
    Scammers ask for one-time or recurring payments. Genuine federal programs won’t ask for payments.
  • Seek sensitive data
    Never disclose your FSA ID, birth date, SSN, banking or credit card information. Such data can cause privacy breaches and theft.
  • Fraudulent program name
    Scammers introduce themselves as from nonexistent programs like “Biden loan forgiveness” or “CARES Act loan forgiveness.” Validity of programs can be confirmed by a simple Google search.
  • Aggressive tactics
    They try to pressurize you into making quick decisions by stating the offer’s limited time availability or low interest rates.

During such calls, remember not to share personal information, do thorough research and don’t rush into decisions.

If you fall prey

  • Contact your bank and card company immediately if you shared bank or card details to prevent any transactions.
  • Inform your student loan servicer particularly if you gave out your federal student aid ID to safeguard your account.
  • Run and keep a check on your credit reports for any suspicious activities.

The UIC Information Security team is dedicated to securing the community from all potential threats and thereby wants the community to stay alert of telephone scams.

For further details on UIC information security and online safety tips, visit it.uic.edu/security.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What is a student loan scam?

A student loan scam involves fraudsters claiming they can erase or reduce student loan debt in return for upfront or monthly payment and sensitive personal information. They may employ aggressive tactics and claim to represent nonexistent forgiveness programs.

How can you tell a student loan scam?

Any immediate loan forgiveness claims, payment requests, solicitations for sensitive personal data, incorrect program names, and aggressive tactics should raise red flags for potential scams. Always research any debt relief programs and do not disclose personal information on phone calls.

What steps should be taken if one falls victim to such a scam?

Immediately contact your bank and credit card company if you’ve shared financial details. Inform your student loan servicer, particularly if you shared your federal student aid ID. Regularly check your credit reports for any suspicious activities. If in doubt, consult with a financial advisor.