Got student loan debt? Don’t be scammed.

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If you’ve got student loan debt, you’ve probably seen ads or been contacted by companies promising they can help. Some are scams – and the FTC is going after them.

Today the FTC announced Operation Game of Loans, a joint FTC and state law enforcement sweep against student loan debt relief scammers. The operation includes seven actions filed by the FTC, with five new cases announced today.

In the FTC cases, the companies claimed to be affiliated with the government or the consumer’s loan servicer, and promised to reduce or eliminate student loan debt. They told people they were “pre-approved,” “pre-qualified” or “qualified instantly,” then pressured them to sign up for their programs on the spot. Enrolling required consumers to pay illegal advance fees of up to $1,500.
So what did these companies actually do? Usually nothing. Consumers were often left worse off, or received minimal help for services they could have gotten from their loan servicer or the U.S. Department of Education for free.

You don’t have to pay for help with your student loans. There’s nothing a company can do for you that you cannot do yourself for free. If you are a federal borrower, start with StudentAid.gov/repay. If you are a private borrower, start by talking with your loan servicer.

Here are some tips to avoid scams:

  • Never pay an up-front fee. It’s illegal for companies to charge you in advance before helping you. If you pay upfront to reduce or get rid of your student loan debt, you might not get any help — or your money back.
  • Only scammers promise fast loan forgiveness. Before they know your situation, scammers might say they can quickly get rid of your loans through a loan forgiveness program. But they can’t.
  • A Department of Education seal doesn’t mean it’s legit. Scammers use official-looking names and logos, and say they have special access to certain federal programs. They don’t.
  • Don’t share your FSA ID with anyone. Scammers could use it to get into your account and take control of your personal information.

Spotted a scam? Let us know about it.

For more resources on student loans, check out our new page: ftc.gov/StudentLoans.

Comments

Thank you FTC. So nice to know you're on the job.

I have been getting scammed calls from a robotic voice. Although I blocked the number, they still leave a crazy voice message.

As student loan borrower I can say that the US Dept of Ed and Debt Resolution are in violations of the FCRA by reaging and will full providing innacurate information as furnisher knowing that CFPB is not our attorney we seek help to assist with the dispute the results the US Dept of Ed took the paid status of the loans, remove the student loan after 6 weeks without notice put them back reaging 5 years. Undersiege by the Bureaus for seeking assistance from the CFPB. The blame to the US Congress for not assure the US Consumers the protection necessary from the Credit Bureaus , Student loans and Child Support that operate above the law. Isn't a frivolous dispute, is not able to retain attorney because the fees that's why they target the subprime consumers to deprived the better interested and rewards from many products.Conflict of interest?.

Criminologist 13-- You make a very valid points and I would like to speak with you in regards to Child Support/Student Loans. Is there anyway that I could speak with you in regards to this. I have some interesting things going on that you’re input would be highly appreciated on

Yes, I got scammed. I am on disability and paid a company 29.00 a month, they said after 10 years my loan would be forgiven. After speaking with the real loan company, they said no. To send them proper documentation of my disability they would forgive these loans and I didn't need to pay a 3rd party.

You can report the company that took your money. Report to the FTC at FTC.gov/complaint. The information you give will go into a secure database that the FTC and other law enforcement agencies use for investigations.

Hi I recieved a phone call and a followup email message from this women claiming they could help with student tuition debt forgiveness below. Is this legitimate or a scam: April Mayhew Account Manager Student Debt Forgiveness Center amayhew @ studentdebtforgivenesscenter. org 1-800-842-4276 Ext. 111

If someone calls you and promises to help with debt forgiveness, think about the tips in this blog:

  • it's against the law for them to charge you before they help you
  • scammers promise they'll get rid of your debts fast, but they really can't
  • they might show you the U.S. Department of Education seal, but that doesn't prove they're legitimate
  • don't share your Federal Student ID. That number lets a person get into your account and take your personal information.

I received a call from them too around that same time. Did you find out if they are scamming people?

Did you figure out if this company is a scam? I’ve gotten calls from them too.

I was scammed by a service like this and reported to BBB in Arkansas and filed a complaint in the state the company claimed to be operating from. Nothing was ever done about it. I was told they couldn't assist me. This company took roughly 800 dollars from me and refused to return the funds. Citing it was placed in a trust to help with my student loans. They never paid a dime towards my loans. I was behind because of that.

Is the Manhattan Beach Venture a legitimate collector of student loans for the United States? Are you familiar with them at all? Thank you

If you have a federal student loan, go to My Federal Student Aid on the Department of Education website to see information about all of your federal student loans, and to find contact information for the loan servicer or lender for your loans. 

The US Department of Education has information about loan servicers too.

Why not go after the real scammers? Over earning fat cat education admin and student loan lenders and servicers.

receive calls daily forf months, at home and at work and even family members getting g calls, really frustrating, already have a federal loan account and no need forf them to call, where do they get this info--happy I am able to slam the phone down

I have been trying to report getting contacted by NAVIENT, who misrepresented themselves to me when I assumed it was a call I had been expecting from US Dept of Education. NAVIENT took $400 from me. Dept of Education called me within minutes. It was then that I realized I had been fooled. I called NAVIENT to cancel out but they would not refund my $money. He stated that it was his company's policy NOT to give any refunds. I live on disability and could not afford to give up $400.00. There was no recourse for me. I am resubmitting a complaint now that you are looking deeper into the problem. NAVIENT HAS SHADY BUSINESS POLICIES!

I also had problems with Navient. They purchased my undergraduate student loans while they were in deferment due to pursuing a master's degree. Without ever notifying me that the loans had been purchased, they resumed payments inappropriately, and again, never notified me. I never received a bill or had ever heard of the company until I discovered I discovered the past due payments myself on my credit bureau. My call to them was the very first communication I had with them. Even though they restarted payments prior to completion of my masters degree (which they were not supposed to do), I offered to pay all fees and accrued interest on top of bringing the loan current, if they'd clear the past due payments from my credit. I elevated the issue to several supervisors, none of whom would agree to clear the past due payments. I offered to write a check to pay the entire loan off, and they still would do nothing for me.

I've had problems in other areas due to a bad credit score, which solely due to Navient's policies. This is the company that our government wants stewarding our Federal student loans?

I am usually really excited about content posted by the CFPB, but some of the content in this post gives me pause. Obviously, borrowers want to be careful to get credible advice with value, but I've met many students who are completely overwhelmed with the complexity of repayment strategies outlined on studentaid.gov. While they can navigate it on their own, it's very difficult for them to determine which strategy best suits their personal financial situation. I think this post should include some credible sources for actual advice if people are struggling with student loan debt (i.e. some attorneys specialize in counseling on student loan repayment strategies).

This blog and website are provided by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). We don't post promotions.

Always make sure you know the difference between FEDERAL SCHOOL AND PRIVATE LOANS!
Private lenders' don't follow FEDERAL PROGRAMS!
If all of your debt is FEDERAL, there are numerous programs to assist with reasonable repayment schedules, or if your situation warrants. Loan Forgiveness for public or military service, and even DISCHARGE for total and permanent disabity or death.

So what are you guys doing about Navient and Fedloan overcharging and misleading us borrowers? Nothing?

I'm not a proponent of people claiming to be the Department of Education and taking peoples money but there has to be a good company out there that can help me with the paperwork and not having to deal with the debt collectors. Anyone have any good experiences?

You don’t have to pay for help with your student loans.

There’s nothing a company can do for you that you couldn't do by yourself -  for free. If you are a federal borrower, start with StudentAid.gov/repay. If you are a private borrower, start by talking with your loan servicer.

You do an article on scams for student loans, but fail to mention what to do, how to get a investigation going on money we have paid to or even some of the scammers company names.

Here's some information from the blog:

  • Click on the words FTC announced Operation Game of Loans and you'll go to the press release. The press release lists cases about student loan debt relief scams.
  • Report a scam to the FTC at FTC.gov/complaint.  The details you report will go into a database that the FTC and other law enforcement agencies use for investigations.
  •  If you need help with repayment and you are a federal borrower, start with StudentAid.gov/repay. If you are a private borrower, start by talking with your loan servicer.

The CFPB imo, is a complete waste of time and energy, and does absourely nothing to help us or our problems.
All they do is send your emails to company and send their responses to us. Thats it!!! Make the student loan companies respond, it's bs, getting the loan servicer to talk and respond to us isn't our problem, even though the loan servicers response is nothing more than a computer generated generic response to our complaints, resolving nothing. It's nothing more than a computer talking to another computer, not eveN a live person to listen to our complaint. It's a complete waste of everyone's money amd time and resolves nothing.

IF THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT HAS TO TAKE THEMSELVES (FEDERAL DEPT OF EDUCATION) TO COURT WHAT CHANCE DO WE EVEN HAVE TO GET OUR ISSUES RESOLVED?

tank you FTC

I have been getting emails and phone calls from Navient for the student loan of Brian T that I never co-signed for. I want the calls and emails stopped and Brian investigated for fraud

I have lost over $2000 from Strategic Student Solutions and I need my money back. What do I need to do to claim it?

Report this to the FTC at FTC.gov/complaint. The information you give will go into a secure database that the FTC and other law enforcement agencies use for investigations. Your report is not a claim to get money back, it's a report to tell the FTC and other law enforcement what happened to you. 

 

You can also report to your state Attorney General.

The comments you put here on the blog don't go into the law enforcement database.

I keep on getting calls and I don't even have a student loan. But the scammer insists that I do. I have blocked them but then they call from another number.

What if I am too poor to ever pay the loan back? Homeless and living out of storage units for 10 years, I tried to save and pay, but was unable to keep up payments. I can not pay the loan back. The principle keeps increasing - which I think is unfair and in itself should be illegal. Please tell me what concrete steps I can do to cancel the loan or have it forgiven. Thank you.

If you are a federal borrower, start with StudentAid.gov/repay. If you are a private borrower, start by talking with your loan servicer.

There is information on StudentAid.gov about what to do if you can't afford your payments.

I also have had a problem with navient. Never received repayment info, never received a call, not one scrap of communication. Until I found out they were garnishing my wages. I called navient to find out they had sold my loan to another company, and this company wanted a income based payment,on a 20,000 dollar student loan. They tacked on 7000 dollars for default,, and garnished my wages and paid the 7000 first before applying any money to my student loan. Feels like a scam, they want me to pay 2000 dollars a month on a 20000 dollar student loan.....they are insane! That is not a reasonable payment. And since I won’t accept their payment arrangement they continue to garnish my wages. They have damaged my credit , and are collecting a ridiculous amount of money a month for something that should be a 350 dollar a month payment . I think they are doing this because default rates are high and they are doing everything they can to grab money quick. Tried to lodge a complaint and navient and they keep trying to shake it off. I say the more people that complain and report this poor unfair business practice, the better the chance of something being done .

I also Reported Fraud Before this Began!!!!!!!!!

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