Paying off a huge student loan can take years and a lot of hard work. With so many people affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, the government last year halted payment of federal student loans.
Now the Coronavirus emergency relief program is set to end in just over a month and those payments will resume. Need to save money? Tap or click here to find out how to get the Apple student discount (you don’t need a student ID).
If that wasn’t bad enough, the scammers are also aware that the payment pause is over. They will come out aggressively trying to steal your money.
Here’s the backstory
In August, the US Department of Education announced that the final extension of the moratorium on federal student loan payments will run through January 31, 2022. After this date, payments are expected to continue as before.
Relief measures put loan payments on hold, added a 0% interest rate and halted collection of bad loans. Before you begin again, you must receive at least 21 days’ notice of the payment due, which will include the payment amount and the due date.
But scammers are always looking for new targets, and they have targeted those who have to pay again. The Federal Trade Commission has issued a warning that students should be aware of scams that pretend to help with payments.
What can you do about it
Scammers will use any possible tactic or technology, and these will include text messages, emails, voice mail, and calls. Beware of any unsolicited calls claiming to help you with fast loan forgiveness.
Here are some other things you can do to stay safe:
- Never pay a fee up front if someone offers to help you. It’s even illegal for legitimate companies to try.
- Don’t be fooled by any texts or emails that convey a sense of urgency. They usually use phrases such as “act immediately,” “call within 7 days,” or “first come, first served.” There is also no one who can promise to cancel or cancel the loan immediately and completely.
- Do not provide your Federal Student ID, Social Security number, or other personal information. It can be used to break into your account and transfer reimbursement payments.
- Never download attachments or documents in an email message if they were not sent by someone you trust. Avoid clicking on any embedded links.
- There are many lenders, providers, and private collection agencies that work on behalf of the US Department of Education. Do not use an agency that is not approved by the agency.
- A list of approved student loan servers can be found here, and a list of private collection agencies can be found here.
- If you previously shared your personal information as a student, you must log into your StudentAid account and change your username and password.
Are cash advance and loan apps safe to use?
Millions of loan and mortgage records exposed to another massive data breach