You’ve probably heard the news — federal student loan repayments are starting again in October. But scammers might try and tell you they can help you avoid repayment, lower your payments, or get your loans forgiven — for a price. Here’s how to spot and avoid these scams.
The most important thing to know is this: the best source of information on your federal student loans is Federal Student Aid. Also, you don’t need to pay to sign up for any programs to lower your payments or get forgiveness — it’s all free at StudentAid.gov/repay. And you can do it yourself. (Again: for free.)
Worried about repaying your loans? The calls and texts that offer “help” might be tempting. But before you act, know how to spot the scams:
- Don’t give away your FSA ID login information. Anyone who says they need it to help you is a scammer. If you share it, the scammer can cut off contact between you and your servicer — and even steal your identity.
- Don’t trust anyone who contacts you promising debt relief or loan forgiveness, even if they say they’re affiliated with the Department of Education. Scammers try to look real, with official-looking names, seals, and logos. They promise special access to repayment plans or forgiveness options — which don’t exist. If you’re tempted, slow down, hang up, and log into your student loan account to review your options.
As you get ready for repayment, here are some steps to take:
- Update your contact information with FSA and your loan servicers. This way, you’ll get timely updates about your repayment plans.
- Enroll in a repayment plan. Use FSA’s Loan Simulator to estimate your monthly payments and compare your repayment options. If you’ve defaulted on your loans, look into the Fresh Start program.
If you spot a scam, the FTC wants to hear about it: ReportFraud.ftc.gov.
By Ari Lazarus, Consumer Education Specialist, FTC