Consumer Alert: Watch for scammers when applying for student loan debt forgiveness
ROCHESTER, N.Y. – Today’s consumer alert concerns your student loan and scammers trying to take your money. The application for student loan forgiveness went live Monday, and scammers are already capitalizing on the confusion.
The Federal Trade Commission is so concerned it issued a warning Tuesday. The scams are clever, so much so that anyone could be fooled. So you have to make sure you’re applying on the actual government site.
You may qualify for debt cancellation up to $10,000 for federal student loans or $20,000 Pell grant recipients. But this is important. Not everyone qualifies. You must meet income requirements. You must make less than $125,000 a year and married couples or heads of households can make no more than $250,000 a year. But because you have to apply, scammers see the process as an opportunity to take your money. Here are the red flags that you’re being scammed:
- You’re not applying at studentaid.gov/debtrelief. This is the *only* place you can apply for loan forgiveness.
- The scammer is charging a fee to apply or they charge a fee to help you qualify.
- The site asks for financial documents. The real application is simple. It asks for your birth date, social security number, phone number and address. No documents are needed. After you apply, you’ll get an email from the education department asking for tax documents.
- And this is critical. Pay attention to the sender. The emails will be from official government email addresses listed here: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, or firstname.lastname@example.org. If there is any variation, no matter how slight, it’s a scam.