FTC continues to crack down on student loan scams

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A lot of us have student loans – and some of us have trouble paying them every month. Some companies claim to resolve that issue by saying they can help you pay them down quicker, cheaper or get them forgiven altogether. Be cautious – some of these companies are running scams.

Here are some tips to avoid student loan repayment scams:

  • Never pay an upfront fee. It’s illegal for companies to charge you in advance before helping you to reduce or get rid of your student loan debt.  Companies that make you pay upfront might give you no help and not give 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 Federal Student Aid (FSA) ID with anyone. Scammers could use it to take control of your personal financial aid information on U.S. Department of Education websites.

Last month, the FTC announced a lawsuit against American Financial Benefits Center (AFBC), Financial Education Benefits Center (FEBC), AmeriTech Financial, and Brandon Demond Frere as part of its crackdown against unlawful student loan debt relief practices, Operation Game of Loans. The FTC alleges that the companies charged illegal, upfront fees and failed to deliver on their promises to enroll people into a government program that they claimed would permanently lower monthly loan payments or result in total loan forgiveness.

The FTC also alleges the companies charged a monthly fee for the life of the loan (typically 10-25 years) and represented that the fee would go towards the student loan balance. But it didn’t.

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: federal borrowers can start with StudentAid.gov/repay; private borrowers can start by talking with their loan servicer.

Spotted a scam? Let us know about it.

Tagged with: loan, scam, student

Comments

Companies are ROBO calling people asking for passwords SSNs and pretending to be a representative of the federal Government. The people have foreign accents.

The FBI needs to investigate as some information for Student loans had to be compromised somewhere. Please stop the selling and sharing of information as it is putting the entire country at risk.

This is a cold dialing scam.. received a similar one today and offered to reduce my loan... Problem is I don't have a loan

Have received at least 3 of these "student loan relief" calls w/n past weeks, from "Amy." Problem is, and no I don't answer but they leave a voicemail, that I'm 68, never taken a student loan and they're barking up the wrong tree. A nuisance. Blocked the phone number, but my phone still rings.

Receive multiple calls to help with student loans. I also do not have student loans and I am 66 so I am not planing on starting any student loans now. Maybe some classes but no loans. I answered the call and talked with a live person. She asked about student loans help and I said I do not have any loans and why would you be calling me I am 66 years old? I was then transferred without another word to insurance sales.

I have gotten about 30 calls over the last two weeks, they are number spoofed so you cant return call. Finally answer to get an Indian or Pakistani lady answer. When I ask what company she says "A federal loan forgiveness program". I clarify "what company" and she replies "oh shut up" and hangs up lol. Still getting about 6 per day.

I agree with you. Every time I renew my paperwork for the coming year on school loans I start getting credit card offers from all sorts of companies. The thing is my last name has changed since school, the credit card offers come in the last name that i had while i was in school. No way that is a coincidence. I never at any other time of the year get any info sent to me in that name. So it must be the companies/banks holding the loans selling information. I think it should be protected because of the sensitive info they hold. It makes me nervous.

Im so worry now I had a company contact me regarding an loan forgiveness program which required me to pay up front fees of 200 an month for 4 months,they stated after that my monthly payment would be only 30m... the company is called Premiere Student Loans..Is this company a scam too?

It is illegal for a company to charge you before it helps you reduce or get rid of your student loan debt.  A company that makes you pay upfront might give not help you and might not give you a refund.

If your loan is from the federal government, you can go to StudentAid.gov/repay for information. If your loan is from a bank or other private lender, talk to your  loan servicer about repayment. You can report the company to your state Attorney General.

I get these calls plus all day long.how can I stop them .I block them and they are still calling.they have so many numbers they call from.I am go I,g crazy

Same here. "Heather" calls. I am going crazy too.

Hi Kelly, I did the same thing last month with the same company, I'm not sure if or how I can follow your post. I hope it was legit...a little nervous now

I have been receiving calls concerning my student loan which I do not have. I have started writing down the number each time I receive a call. On 2-26-18 and 3-2-18 the number was 540 856-3924. I do not talk to these people, I just hang up.

I received a call claiming that they were from the IRS, the phone number was listed on my caller id, I called the IRS to let them know and also gave them the phone number, I don't fall for scams, I don't even trust the real people. Its a shame that you can't trust people and I don't see how they can sleep at night, making people scared.

My friend got scammed few years ago for student relief help program for $300, back then we didn't know what to do, its probably too late to do anything about it even though she has all documents, it left her in a deep depression, and now the Gov. has a company to help her, but they look at your gross income instead of net, then calculate payments upon gross income, which they don't think about your rent, utilities, car payments & insurance. Its sad because the interest rate is so high she will never pay it off. So sad the way the Government affiliates companies treat hard working Americans.

Thank you for your flow of Cyber Security info. If we could all team together to report every incident to FTC we would stem the heavy losses the public is experiencing. Then the hacjkers and scammers would have to find oter means of income. Keep it up FTC.

I am 80+ years young and keep receiving these calls to help me with my student loans. I just tell them to "send me the money" and they hang up.

That's a good one!

Got a phone call from student Loan care and equitable acceptance any body got info on these companies? Or anybody dealt with them with student loans?

This is a scam. I fell for it . im desperately seeking help to get it off my credit report. Please dont sign up with anything from them

thanks i have understand

I'M getting student loans called and several others just after I gave my number in Victoria Secret. Big mistake.

I recommend, never ever give your number to any store.

Fed Loan Servicing is a scammer!

Watch out for a company called Federal Assistance...their website is "fedassist.us" and according to a "supervisor" they used to be called Student Advocates LLC.

I’ve been getting calls from Fed Assist for several months. Finally called back to the number left on my voicemail today. They claim I can pay a small payment for the next 10 years, reduce my interest rates, and then all my loans will be forgiven since I am a “public servant”. They asked my FSA login (didn’t give it) and I asked for their website. Glad I have learned to check these things out from past experiences.

I fell for the FedAssist scam and I feel pretty stupid now to have not noticed the very obvious warning signs. Not only did I lose $447, they consolidated my loans against my best interest and now I live in fear thinking they will continue to rip me off since they have personal information.

Has anyone dealt with Square One Solutions? I just signed with them & now I’m concerned.

I read an article about that group, Square One Resolutions is a scam.

How do I stop the calls from the Student Aid scammers? Help.

I have the same problem. I don't know what country they are from bit they call me 10 times a day. I block them and they call from all different types of numbers from all over the US. It's frustrating.

They called me with a local number but the number is unreachable to call back. The number was 812-470-3146

I have recieved many calls from local numbers claiming that I have 48 hours to contact them. I answered it once,but never gave my information. Asked to speak with someone else who I can understand. They hung up. How can I get them to stop calling? Multiple numbers. 218 area code

I seriously can't take it anymore i am getting killed with these calls. I just put my number on the "do not call list" so hopefully that will help a bit?

received phone call from friend per caller i.d. It was the student loan scam ... I'm 80 years old and NEVER had a student loan. I called the friend and she had not known about this. Who do I report this to as she is not on the internet?

Like the rest of you, I am getting fed up with all of the scam calls - especially the student loans and the phony IRS. In fact, I HAVE NEVER HAD A STUDENT LOAN (I do have an MBA) and am 75 years old. I am reporting the number to the FTC, but it probably won't be active by the time they get it and take action.

I know I am suppose to hang up. But I have found that when mircosoft calls to renew my license, I tell them they called last week and I paid them $500. They need to locate my file. That keeps them busy for 5 or 10 minutes. Silly I know, but I have all day to play games with telemarketers. I have found that after a few minutes they realize that I *Candace Cane* have been yanking their chain. But, they wasted several precious minutes dealing with me. That means they couldn't harass or fraud someone else.

I have received calls also. Its ridiculous. when you say you don't want it they get made. its ashamed that our information is constantly being used and sold. Be careful. don't give any information-let them give it to you and when you say no thank you just hang up. because they keep pushing and pushing

What about the companies that claim we can make money answering survays

So I got a text from 76965 saying I needed to contact my counselor at 866.437.4579 for student loan forgiveness and that my eligibility expired tomorrow. Watch out guys this wreaks of scammers. I didn't reply even STOP to opt out because then they know someone got their message and it's active number.

I received a call from Bradley Conroy from Student Repayment Solutions. He asked for my FAFSA logon information and reset my password to login. He explained to me I would have a fee for their services (he spoke fast). I intercepted him and told him if he were to ask for anymore personal information like my SS number and bank account information I am going to need to research his company first. I immediately changed my FAFSA password.

Bradley Conroy Account Manager Student Repayment Solutions Direct: 714-831-1374 Email: bradley@ studentrepaymentsolutions. com www. studentrepaymentsolutions. com

You can report this to the FTC at FTC.gov/Complaint. The information you give will go into a secure database that law enforcement uses for investigations. The comments you put here on the blog don’t go into the law enforcement database.

I just received a text from 602.773.1951 asking me to call regarding a Forgiveness program that will cover my previous education cost. There was also a link to contact them by, which of course I'm not clicking on. Scary thing is that they used my first name in the text. I've never had a student loan.... SCAM! Contacting the FTC

How come there isn't any news on the FTC site about the lawsuit a company made against the FTC?

Federal Loan Servicing calling again and goes straight to my voice mail. I do NOT have any student loans . . . called and told them to stop calling . . they won't stop! Have been registered with the FCC for over 12 years and nothing ever gets done.

I'm pretty sure i did everything I wasn't suppose to, regarding student loans. Fell victim, fooled once, not again.

I signed up with American Financial Benefits Center thinking my loans would be reduced and fully paid off if I just paid the $20/month for 20 years or whatever it was. Basically I was just paying them to fill out the free paperwork bc I qualified for a no payment on income based repayment.
Then when my income increased and I had a monthly payment, they just added that to my monthly fee to them. And I had an initial $200 fee to start the program.
You’re basically paying them a lot of money to do your free paperwork.

The lawsuit is all well and good but what is to come of it for the customers that have paid thousands to these companies? Well there be any sort of restitution?

Just got a call about student loan forgiveness. The caller ID showed OR Army Natl G it had a local number. When I answered the automated voice said to press one to speak to an agent so I did and I mentioned to the woman that she called a business....she hung up on me. Does the Army National Guard do student loan forgiveness?

So is American Financial benefits center a scam? I have been paying them to do free paperwork for over 2 years now! Should i cancel? Feeling like a fool.

My loans were paid off years ago, and my phone number was even different then - and I'm getting calls from loan forgiveness scammers - and now they even call my business phone. I'm convinced they call people at random to steal social security numbers.

I have been getting calls from these people for weeks and multi times a day. I tell them to remove me from the list and do not contact and they even text me. They keep calling and use different numbers. I called a number back and it was someone else's cell phone...so they cloned a number now? They wont stop and now using people's numbers without them knowing? Their do not call prompt #2 doesn't work. Also it starts as a robo call.

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