In addition to pesky scam phone calls, one report claims that scammers are using fraudulent text messages to scam people with student loan debt according to KSPR News.
KSPR News reports that in Springfield, Missouri, a local man received a text message on his cell phone that claimed all of his student loan debt could potentially be forgiven by the Department of Education if he called the number provided.
The text looked real—even ending with the message, “Reply stop to stop”—but since the receiver does not have any student loans, he never responded to the text and didn’t receive any additional messages.
Jon Anfinson from the Better Business Bureau says that this type of scam is becoming more commonplace around the country, particularly in the Ozarks.
Back in 2015, there was a similar text scam going around. This one sent a message telling the receiver that their federal student loans have been pre-approved for student loan forgiveness or consolidation. It also included the option to reply “stop” to get the messages to cease. When the recipient sent the stop message, an attempt was made to charge the phone account.
But Anfinson says these scams can actually be easy to spot if a consumer pays attention. First, a borrower will always be contacted about their debt from the company where the loan originated—not the Department of Education. And most importantly, a loan company will never contact a borrower via text. Instead, you would get a formal letter in the mail.
Other red flags include having to pay an advanced fee, as well as the company promising immediate loan forgiveness and requesting sensitive personal information, such as your social security number or federal ID number.
With more than 43.3 million Americans carrying a combined $1.41 trillion in student loan debt, it is not surprising that scams are becoming the norm. There are a few ways a student loan borrower can sniff out a student loan scam, according to LendEDU.
LendEDU has also provided extensive coverage of various fraudulent student loan companies. In a recent instance, Strategic Student Solutions was assigned an “F” rating from the Better Business Bureau; as a result, it was temporarily shut down by the FTC. That company has been accused of stealing millions from student debtors by falsely promising to lower or completely forgive their student debt if the borrowers paid an upfront fee.
In February of this year, the FTC shut down three debt reduction companies in Florida for acquiring $2.4 million fraudulently. Chastity Valdes and her three companies, Consumer Assistance LLC, Consumer Assistance Project Corp., and Palermo Global LLC, scammed student borrowers by charging them fees on the promise of forgiving their student debt and repairing their credit.
The best way to safeguard yourself against these calls and texts is to simply not respond. Never hand out personal info over the phone. Instead, call your student loan servicer directly to get more info about your options in paying off your debt.
Author: Mike Brown
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