June 7, 2020

Eye on Scams: Student debt forgiveness for a fee? | KTVE

Eye on Scams: Student debt forgiveness for a fee? | KTVE


LAFAYETTE, La. (KLFY)- Experts are warning about student debt forgiveness scams.

Scammers are now targeting student loan borrowers with false claims of debt forgiveness.

 “Scammers are taking advantage of this opportunity to contact consumers that they need either their personal identifiable information or some type of financial means from them in order to help them through a forgiveness program,” Chris Babin, with the Better Business Bureau of Acadiana, said.

Navient, a student loan company, has more than 10 million student loan clients and recently settled a student loan forgiveness lawsuit. This won’t affect what individual borrowers owe, but scammers are targeting borrowers with false claims of debt forgiveness, and for a fee.

“People are being contacted saying that they can get signed up for this loan forgiveness program, but of course, you have to give them your personal identifiable information, and then they’re going to set you up on a payment plan with what they want you to pay with either a debit or credit card,” added Babin.

You receive a call from a person claiming to represent Navient. They explain that as a part of the lawsuit settlement, your student loan is partially or completely forgiven. You’ll just need to confirm your personal information and pay a fee.

Babin explained, “Basically, they’re contacting people pretending to be either with the Navient company themselves or with the Department of Education claiming that they can help them get forgiveness for their student loans, and that they can set them up on a payment program to get them enrolled into that.” 

The scammer will then begin making withdrawals according to the payment plan you agreed to.

“What happens is once that monthly amount continues to be deducted, you realize that it had nothing to do with your student loan, and your student loan company is still looking for their student loan payment as well,” said Babin.

Navient customers will not receive a phone call offering to transfer your loan. If you engage with these con-artist callers, you could compromise your personal information and lose money, too.

Here are some tips from the Better Business Bureau on how to avoid this scam:

  • Understand how the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program works.
    • ​You can now request information from Navient about whether or not you qualify for student loan forgiveness.
  • Don’t take unsolicited callers at their word.
    • Remember that legitimate businesses and government offices do not call people without their permission.
  • When in doubt, hang up.
    • If you aren’t sure about a caller and their claims, ask for a call back number, hang up, and do your research.

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