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Many federal student loan borrowers are stressing out right about now, and for an understandable reason. After a multi-year pause, monthly federal student loan payments will start coming due in October. And a lot of people are worried about their ability to make those payments after not having done so since 2020.

Unfortunately, scammers are taking advantage of student loan borrowers’ vulnerability in a very big way. And that’s something borrowers need to be aware of.

Image source: Getty Images.

When you’re promised to have your loans forgiven — and it’s all bogus

Financial scams are hardly a novel thing. Scammers commonly prey on consumers in an attempt to steal their credit card information, get access to their bank accounts, and even reroute their Social Security payments.

But now, student loan relief scams are starting up big time given that monthly loan payments will soon start coming due. And it’s important to know how to recognize one.

Transaction Network Services says that in roughly the last couple of weeks, more than 350,000 student loan-related robocalls were placed trying to sell borrowers on options that include lower monthly payments or loan forgiveness altogether. These scammers have gone so far as to identify themselves as representatives of the Department of Education.

How to spot a student loan scam

President Biden’s plan to broadly forgive student debt was denied by the Supreme Court. So don’t be tricked into thinking that some random company is magically going to be able to overrule that decision.

If the president of the country can’t forgive your debt, neither can Bob Smith from Student Loan Forgiveness USA, or whatever bogus company name your scammer claims to work for. So don’t transfer money to Bob Smith in exchange for him wiping out your debt. It’s not going to happen.

Additionally, you should know that there may, in fact, be some repayment plan options you can pursue through your loan servicer that allow you to lower your monthly payments. But you shouldn’t have to make an up-front payment or give out credit card information to get onto one of those plans.

So if someone calls you saying you can lower your monthly student loan payments for an up-front fee of some random amount, hang up — even if your caller claims to be a representative of the Department of Education. And if you’re contacted by email or text, ignore that message similarly, and make sure not to click on any links contained in a message like that, either.

It’s truly unfortunate that scammers are trying to take advantage of student loan borrowers at a time when so many are stressed about having to make payments on their debt again. The good news is that you do have options for lowering your loan payments if your current payments aren’t manageable.

But in that case, you should be the one to reach out to your loan servicer to talk through your options. Don’t respond to a number that calls you out of the blue, even if the offer sounds enticing.

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