GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — September marks the return of federal student loan payments. As borrowers are preparing to pay back their debt, it’s important to beware of scams.
“I do have student loans and I’d say scary, overwhelming,” said Emily Sedlecky, student loan borrower.
Borrowers may feel the same way — nervous to start paying back their student loans. Some may be worried due to inflation, others about the logistics.
“I am nervous. I do know the website that I need to go onto and I know where the resources are, its all very overwhelming to do it all at once,” she said.
The Better Business Bureau says borrowers may be a little rusty on how to make payments due to the three-year pandemic pause.
“Now that that pause is ending, this is just a really great opportunity for scammers to get in on that ground level with maybe students who don’t understand the loan process or someone who has never really looked at their loans before,” said Katie Grevious with the BBB.
Scammers may be lurking to try and take advantage.
“Take money, but also take the personal sensitive information like logins, bank account numbers, things like that. So not only are you risking losing more money in general on top of our student loans, but we’re also risking losing our identities,” said Grevious. “We’ve seen emails, phone calls, text messages, even scammers hacking friends’ Facebook pages and messaging other friends all claiming that they are … with a government agency.”
Federal student aid borrowers need to check their emails for correspondence from the Federal Student Aid website, which will let them know what loan servicer has their account. That’s who they should pay.
“You should never have to pay an upfront fee for any sort of loan reimbursement, any sort of debt consolidation,” explained Grevious.
Be careful to not give away your information or money to a student loan scam.
“Look up that source yourself, whether they claim they’re from the education department or your loan servicer. Look up their contact information on credible sources like BBB.org,” said Grevious.
“It’s just getting there, getting on, figuring out what my minimum payment is, how long I want to be paying them off, but yes, I plan on using the main website and my loan provider website,” said Sedlecky.
A red flag can also be links sent by family or friends. Be sure to use the Federal Student Aid website to verify your loan servicer. If you come across a scam, report it to the Better Business Bureau.