Scam alert: No, you don’t have to pay for student loan forgiveness

FTC warns about imposter phone calls, emails, texts

No sooner had President Biden announced the plan to cancel federal student loan debts for millions and scammers were already looking to take advantage.

SAN ANTONIO – No sooner had President Joe Biden announced the plan to cancel federal student loan debts for millions, and scammers were already looking to take advantage.

“Within hours of the announcement, we were getting reports from our customers that they were getting scam phone calls,” said Zulfiker Ramzan, chief scientist with Aura, a digital security company.

He said the most common scheme they are seeing offers to walk someone through the process to get their money.

“Another one is people were getting targeted and asked, ‘Hey, if you want to skip ahead in the line, we can help you get your money first,’” Ramzan said.

Of course, it was all in exchange for a fee, and sensitive financial information would be solicited.

The Federal Trade Commission warns borrowers to beware of fraudulent calls, emails and text messages. They say you don’t need to pay anybody to sign up for the new program or the extended pause in payments, and nobody can get you in early or guarantee eligibility.

The FTC reminds people never to give out their federal student ID.

The program isn’t even up and running yet. The U.S. Department of Education will announce when borrowers can apply. No date has been set, but it should be before the end of the year.

The program forgives up to $10,000 in federal loan debt and up to $20,000 for those with Pell grants as long as income requirements are met.


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About the Authors:

As a consumer reporter, Marilyn is all about helping people stay safe and save a buck. Since coming to KSAT in 1985, she’s covered everything from crime to politics, winning awards for her coverage of the Mexican Mafia, Oklahoma tornadoes, children’s transplants, an investigation into voting irregularities and even a hit-and-run Santa Claus.

Luis Cienfuegos is a photographer at KSAT 12.