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If you’re like millions of Americans who hold student loan debt, you’ve probably paid attention to news about changes to student loan programs. From student loan debt forgiveness, to changes to the public service loan forgiveness program, student loans have undergone serious changes recently. If you’re one of the many seniors who holds student loans, you’re probably wondering about some of these changes and whether you can benefit. We’re here to share some resources on the Federal Student Loan Debt Relief Program so you can educate yourself on these changes and see if you qualify for debt relief.

The added benefit of doing your own research on changes to federal student loan programs is that you can better protect yourself from student loan scams. Scammers are crafty and look to newsworthy and recent events to develop new scams. With these recent changes to the federal student loan program have come student loan scammers trying to exploit unwitting borrowers. Keep reading to learn how to spot student loan scams and protect yourself.

Federal Student Loan Debt Forgiveness

Earlier this year the federal government announced the creation of a student loan debt forgiveness program that could forgive up to $20,000 of debt, depending on each applicant’s qualifications. Currently, the application for student loan debt relief is paused and the government is not accepting new applications for the program. If you already applied for debt relief, the government will hold your application.

If the government gets permission to go ahead with the debt relief program, whether you qualify for student loan debt forgiveness and how much forgiveness you can receive depends on a number of factors. These factors include the type of student loan debt you hold and your income. Click on the links below to learn more about the status of the program and how the program will work if it is allowed to proceed:

To apply for debt relief, click here.

Learn to Spot Student Loan Scams

With the federal student loan debt forgiveness program have come the student loan scammers. Scams come in all forms, and there are different types of student loan scams out there. Some of these scams are simple, while others are complicated. When it comes to scams, education and prevention are your best weapons against the scammers. We’re here to share some common signs of scams and tips to protect yourself.

Signs of a Scam:

Learn about the following signs of student loan scams so you can protect yourself:

  • If an offer for debt relief seems too good to be true, especially an offer from a private company, then it probably is!
  • You’re asked to pay an upfront cost or monthly fees
  • You are promised immediate and/or total debt forgiveness
  • Someone asks you to provide your Federal Student Aid ID Password
  • You’re told that enrollment in a student loan forgiveness program is first come, first served
  • You get student alerts telling you that your loan is flagged for forgiveness

Here are some tips to avoid scams:

Never pay anyone to get assistance applying to debt forgiveness: federal student debt forgiveness is free. Paying a fee will not speed up the loan forgiveness process.

Don’t share your Federal Student Aid ID Password with anyone.

Don’t trust anyone who reaches out to you and claims to be affiliated with the U.S. Department of Education: the Federal Trade Commission has received reports of fake student loan servicers contacting people, claiming to be affiliated with the U.S. Department of Education, and offering to help people with their debt. These scammers may say that they know information about your loan, such as your balance, but this can be a way of getting you to confirm your information. By getting you to confirm information, the scammer learns more about you so they can use that information to trick you. The scammers may ask you for additional information about yourself and may ask you to sign a Durable Power of Attorney to gain access to your bank account.

Confirm that the person you’re dealing with is legitimate: if you’re not sure if a person making an offer related to your student loans is legitimate, hang up and call your federal student loan servicer directly to inquire about the offer.

Learn More About Student Loan Scams:

What To Do If You Are Scammed

If you think that someone has scammed you, contact your federal student loan servicer to check in about actions taken on your loans. You should also contact your financial institution, like your bank or credit card company, if you made any payments to the scammers. You can also file a complaint to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the Federal Trade Commission, and the U.S. Department of Education’s Federal Student Aid section. Lastly, you can always report scams the your local law enforcement.  Click here to learn more.