Spot the Scam: Student loan forgiveness or scam?
If you receive a call from an unknown number, and the person on the other end of the phone is promising to help you pay off, or even erase your student loans — BEWARE! This may be a scam!
Callers will claim they can help you pay off or erase federal student loans and all you need to do is provide some personal information and pay an upfront fee or monthly fee. While federal forgiveness loan programs do exist, you can spot the following red flags to identify if it is a scam:
- Claims immediate student loan relief
Scammers claim they can relieve student loans immediately. While federal student loan forgiveness programs do exist, there are no programs that will relieve student loans immediately. Forgiveness programs that relieve debt have special requirements, such as working in a specific field for a certain amount of time, and may take years before you qualify for forgiveness.
- Request payment or monthly fee
The scammer will claim a one-time or monthly payment is needed to erase or relieve your student loans. Federal programs do not require extra payment for loan forgiveness, so if someone is charging you, it should be an immediate red flag.
- Ask you for your Social Security number and other sensitive information.
Do not give away your FSA ID, date of birth, Social Security number, bank or credit cards, or any other type of sensitive information. Dishonest people could use that information to get into your account and steal your identity.
- Provide a fraudulent program name
Callers purport that they’re part of “Biden loan forgiveness” or “CARES Act loan forgiveness,” two programs that do not exist. A simple Google search can confirm a program’s legitimacy.
- Use aggressive tactics to convince you to act immediately.
Callers will say things to motivate you to act quickly, such as claiming this is a “limited time offer” or “act now” to secure a low rate. Callers will use aggressive and coercive tactics to play on your fears and pressure you into acting quickly.
If you receive one of these calls, be wary! Never give out any personal information over the phone, always do your research, and do not allow yourself to be rushed into anything.
What to do if you’re a victim
- If you provided a scammer with credit card or bank account information, call your bank and card company right away to close your accounts or stop payments.
- Call your student loan servicer, especially if you provided information such as your federal student aid ID, so they can monitor your account.
- Run and monitor your personal credit reports to ensure there’s no suspicious or fraudulent activity.
The UIC Information Security team understands the importance of protecting the community from active and potential security threats and wants to ensure the UIC Community is aware of this phone scam.
For more information on UIC Information Security and staying safe online, visit it.uic.edu/security.