Thetheir student debt is being targeted by scammers who call, text and email with fraudulent offers of help, law enforcement officials warn.
Criminals often adapt old scams to take advantage of current events, in this case using the Biden administration’s program to forgive up to $20,000 in student debt per borrower.
“The FBI typically sees this behavior when a new government assistance program becomes available,” Jeffrey Downey, special agent in charge of the agency’s field office in El Paso, Texas, said this week in a statement warning the public.
According to the FBI, which was joined by the Vermont Attorney General’s office to send an alert.
The potential scammers behind the calls may also claim to represent a bank or the US Department of Education. They then usually ask for personal information to supposedly start the loan forgiveness application process.
The scammers also send emails or SMS links from what appears to be an official government website, which then asks for personal information such as a person’s name, social security number and date of birth. birth.
Important things to remember to avoid getting scammed, officials say:
- Accessing or obtaining assistance with any federal student aid program through the Department of Education or its partners does not require any type of payment.
- Authorities are also warning against providing Federal Student Aid (FSA) credentials, saying the application is a scam and is being used to cut off contact between the borrower and the agent. of service, as well as to steal the person’s identity.
- Borrowers are advised to be aware of the risks before refinancing student loans, as those eligible for debt relief who take out private loans risk losing what the government is offering, officials said. say.
Regulators already have their hands full of scams related to getting help with student debt. Criminals have long used real, but hard-to-navigate government programs to trick people into paying illegal fees or giving up personal information. The Federal Trade Commission in August said it was sending more than $822,000 in refunds to borrowers tricked by an illegal debt relief program.
People can make a one-time request debt relief until December 31, 2023, although for now a the Biden administration to forgo the loans.