If a Stranger Offers You Student Loan Forgiveness, Hang Up
BY ANNA HELHOSKI
Student loan scammers have a brand-new hook: “Biden student loan forgiveness” or “stimulus forgiveness.” Behind the pitch is the same old fraudster playbook, one that persuades federal student loan borrowers to pay for services they could get for free or to share personal account information in exchange for forgiveness. The extended pause on federal student loan payments and revived talk in Congress of debt forgiveness make such deceptions easier to believe. “Debt relief scams proliferate when there is a large amount of financial suffering or a lot of confusion, and we have both going on right now,” says Persis Yu, a staff attorney at the National Consumer Law Center and director of its Student Loan Borrower Assistance Project. To be clear, there is no new broad-based loan forgiveness program available beyond the existing, often difficult-to-get options, such as Public Service Loan Forgiveness or Borrower Defense to Repayment. There’s also no application or fee necessary to receive the federal student loan payment pause that’s been in effect since March 13, 2020, and will continue through May 1, 2022.
ABOUT THAT 'STIMULUS FORGIVENESS'
It's safe to dismiss any out-of-the-blue offer to discharge debt, consolidate loans or alter your repayment plan as a scam. “There isn’t a person or entity on the planet who can get you a better deal on your student loan or access a program that you can’t get yourself by working directly with your servicer,” says Betsy Mayotte, president and founder of the Institute of Student Loan Advisors.
Powered by FlippingBook