There is no question that student loan and financial aid scams are on the rise.
Now, more than ever, you need to be especially careful of phone calls and emails that may appear to be coming from your lender or university.
Some of these scams are aimed at stealing student loan repayments and phishing that can lead to identity theft. Others seek to cause havoc by infecting computers and devices with malware.
A common phone scam involves someone calling about a federal student loan, stating that they need to alert you of some changes that have taken effect with the payment of your loan. The caller also provides a code to use when calling back the number. But when asked, the scammer often provides a bogus company name and will not provide a city or street address.
The Federal Trade Commission has also released an alert about a COVID-19 financial aid scam.
Students receive an email that appears to be coming from the financial department at their university, with a message about their COVID-19 economic stimulus check. They are instructed to click on a link, using their student login to get more information.
But, the link could contain malware and might be used to phish for additional information.
If you get a suspicious call or email about a student loan, stimulus payment, or financial aid, do not provide any information or click on links until you check things out. It may be best to contact the university or your lender at a phone number that you know is legitimate.
To report this scam or get more information about student loans and financial aid, contact the Federal Trade Commission or the US Department of Education.