Avoid scammers offering to forgive student loan debt, offers to change repayment plans

Posted at 3:46 PM, Apr 28, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-28 16:46:21-04

COVID-19 continues to change the lives of many, through unemployment, loss of wages and overall anxiety of what is to come. For those with student loans, the CARES Act helped address some of those concerns, including federal student loan borrowers.

“Lost wages due to the new coronavirus and the disease it causes, COVID-19, may affect borrowers’ ability to manage and repay their student loans,” said Kathy Blumenfeld, Cabinet Secretary, Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions (DFI) in a press release. “The federal government, private lenders, and others are offering student loan relief to help borrowers manage the economic fallout.”

Borrowers with federally held student loans automatically received a six-month forbearance for eligible loans, meaning no payments will be due and no interest will accrue between March 13 and Sept. 30.

“Borrowers also need to be aware of potential scams involving student loans, such as receiving emails asking for a fee or confirmation to have student loan payments suspended,” said Lara Sutherlin, Administrator, Division of Trade and Consumer Protection, Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade, and Consumer Protection (DATCP). “All eligible federal student loans are automatically enrolled; borrowers should not be asked, nor should they pay a fee for anything related to their federal student loans at this time.”

“There is no such thing as instant student loan relief, and borrowers don’t need to pay a fee for their student loan servicer to help them,” said DATCP Administrator Sutherlin. “Often student loan scams are robocalls or text messages asking borrowers to call them back in order to get more information on how these new measures will impact their future payment obligations. If this happens, borrowers shouldn’t answer or return these requests.”

DATCP also offered these other tips for borrowers to protect themselves against scammers:

  • Do not respond to calls or texts from unknown numbers
  • Never share personal information through email, text message or over the phone
  • Be cautions if you're being pressured to share any information or asked to make a payment immediately
  • Scammers often spoof phone numbers
  • Do not click any links in a text message

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