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FTC warns of student loan forgiveness scams. Here’s how you protect your identity and money.


April 18, 2024

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FTC warns of student loan forgiveness scams. Here’s how you protect your identity and money.

Think you’re eligible for the newly proposed student debt relief program in the US? Don’t trust unsolicited outreach from so-called loan servicers. It may put your finances and identity at risk.

With the latest federal student loan forgiveness program updates in the news, borrowers need to keep an eye out for scammers, the FTC has warned.

“You might get a call from someone saying they’re affiliated with Federal Student Aid (FSA) or the Department of Education. (They’re not.),” the FTC said. “They’ll say they’re following up on your eligibility for a new loan forgiveness program, and might even know things about your loan, like the balance or your account number. They’ll try to rush you into acting by saying the program is available for a limited time. But this is all a scam.”

How to spot student loan forgiveness scams

Scammers often exploit news about student financial aid programs to steal personal information and money from unwary borrowers.

Know the red flags

  • You receive unsolicited communication (via email, text, or phone calls) from individuals purporting to be from the Department of Education, service loan providers or the federal government. Use caution when interacting with any person or organization contacting you out of the blue regarding your eligibility for any student loan forgiveness program.
  • The message you receive is a limited-time offer or opportunity and attempts to rush you into signing up
  • The individual or student loan servicer offers immediate loan forgiveness if you pay them or make monthly payments with your credit card
  • You are asked to provide your Federal Student Aid credentials (ID and password)
  • Scammers promise you special access or instant loan forgiveness
  • A third party asks you to sign a power of attorney so they can help you apply for student loan forgiveness programs

What can you do to protect against student loan forgiveness scams?

  • Ignore any form of unsolicited correspondence regarding loan relief programs
  • Never share your SSN or any other sensitive information via email, texts or phone calls
  • Remember, there are no instant loan forgiveness programs. Calls, texts, or emails claiming otherwise are scams.
  • Never initiated contact? Hang up on unknown callers or individuals who claim to be calling on behalf of the ED or student loan services you did not apply for
  • Research the loan service provider before engaging or submitting personal information. Legitimate agencies will never request your Social Security Number or any other sensitive information over the phone or via email. You can check online and via the BBB for any scams or complaints relating to the servicer
  • Never make upfront payments or give your credit card information
  • Block callers and report fraudulent phone numbers to the FTC and the BBB
  • Review your student loans often and report any errors
  • Never authorize a third party to handle your loans or access your FSA account
  • Don’t trust the contact information from an unsolicited email or voicemail. Contact the loan servicer from an independent source

Pro Tip:

Use Bitdefender Scamio to stay safe from scams of all kinds. Scamio is a free AI-powered scam detector service that helps you and your family spot scams and fraudsters before they can harm you financially.

Scamio is available on your web browser, Facebook Messenger or WhatsApp and does not require technical knowledge or other Bitdefender products to use.

What to do if you’ve fallen victim to a student loan forgiveness scam

  • If you were locked out of your FSA account or think you might have mistakenly provided your credentials to a fraudster, change passwords immediately (including for accounts that shared the same login credentials).
  • Report any fraud attempts to the FTC and file a complaint with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau
  • Cancel any recurring payments with the fraudulent loan servicer by reaching out to your bank
  • If you have unwittingly shared your SSN and other personal data, consider freezing your credit to stop fraudsters from opening new lines of credit in your name
  • Use an identity theft protection service to monitor your identity credit status and prevent financial losses due to compromise




Alina is a history buff passionate about cybersecurity and anything sci-fi, advocating Bitdefender technologies and solutions. She spends most of her time between her two feline friends and traveling.

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