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Student loan payments are resuming in October after a pause of more than three years — and scammers are trying to take advantage, the Federal Trade Commission has warned.
Fraudsters may attempt to mislead borrowers by offering help and asking them to pay, Ari Lazarus, a consumer education specialist at the FTC, wrote in a consumer alert Thursday. These fake offers can include reducing borrowers’ monthly payments, avoiding repayment or canceling their loans.
“Worried about paying off your loans? Calls and texts offering help can be tempting,” the alert says. “But before you act, know how to spot scams.”
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The suspension of federal student loan payments began in March 2020, one of several tranches of government aid intended to ease financial pressures on households at the start of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The pause has since been extended eight times, twice by the Trump administration and six times by the Biden administration. Interest on federal student debt was also suspended during this period, but began accruing again on September 1.
The “best source” for information about federal student loans is the Federal Student Aid website, studentaid.gov, the FTC said.
The agency offered two tips to avoid being scammed:
- Do not give out your FSA ID login information. Only scammers will ask for it. They can cut off contact between borrowers and their lender, and perhaps even steal their identity.
- Don’t trust people who promise debt relief or loan forgiveness, even if they claim to be from the U.S. Department of Education. There is no special access to repayment plans or discount options. Instead, log into your student loan account to review your options.