BBB: How to avoid scammers as student loan repayments resume – Portland Tribune | Vette Leader

The Better Business Bureau offers some expert advice for those paying off student loan debt.

Beginning September 1st, student loan repayments are set to begin for millions of borrowers across the country.

While the long hiatus in student loan and interest accrual payments has provided some much-needed relief for borrowers, those individuals must now readjust their minds and budgets to those monthly payments.

During the hiatus, many student loan service providers ended their contracts with the federal government and went out of the student loan administration business.

In 2021, Navient, FedLoan Servicing (aka the Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency), and Granite State Management and Resources (NHHEAF Network) ended their contracts with the federal government. As a result, these loan originators transferred the loans to new providers, potentially passing borrowers from one servicer to another.

With repayment dates shifting and new service providers, this is understandably a bit confusing for borrowers.

With the uncertainty come the bad actors. Scammers may try to trick borrowers into paying them instead of their new service provider. Not to mention all the other requests borrowers are likely already receiving to help them with their student loans.

Better Business Bureau encourages all borrowers to be cautious when being contacted directly by anyone claiming to be their new federal loan administrator or by anyone else with miracle promises of reducing student loan debt.

Keep your contact information up to date with your service provider

Each of the three service providers above is taking steps to ensure transparency during this change. The borrower should have received several emails and letters in the mail notifying them of these changes and what changes to expect. Borrowers should check their accounts with their new student loan administrator once the switch is complete to ensure their outstanding loan amount and any previous payments are reflected.

Do your research before providing any personal information or paying “fees”.

Watch out for companies that promise to lower payments by enrolling in student loan forgiveness programs — but then charge a fee. They may make empty promises to apply monthly payments to student loans to improve credit and/or negotiate with the lender on the borrower’s behalf. In another scenario, dishonest collectors claim that consumers can save money by consolidating loans as long as they pay a fee.

Whatever scenario is presented, the risk is paying a fee for their “service” but getting little to no results – especially if the call is from a scammer – leaving borrowers the same amount of debt and limited recourse to leave their money.

Please keep your personal information private and never give it to an unsolicited source. Ask the representative their name and the company they represent. Do your own research on trusted sources like BBB.org for potential consumer warnings or reviews before agreeing to anything.

The final result

Whether you’re being contacted by phone, email, or text message, be wary of people making unexpected contact. Government agencies, as well as most student loan service providers, will first contact borrowers by mail.

If you are unsure whether a message is legitimate, check the official website for information and call the company at the phone number provided on that website. Do not click unknown links that may download malware and steal your personal information. Don’t give in to pressure to make an immediate decision or reveal personal information.

Consumers can apply for loan deferrals, forbearance, repayment and forgiveness, or discharge programs directly from the US Department of Education or their loan administrator at no cost and do not require a third party.

If you or someone you know has encountered any suspicious activity, file a complaint with StudentAid.gov and report it to BBB.org/ScamTracker.

Visit BBB.org for more consumer tips.

Rebecca Barr is the PR and Communications Manager for the Better Business Bureau.


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