8 People Shared How Scammers Tried To Use "Student Loan Forgiveness" Against Them, And Here's How You Can Tell They're Not Legit

Recently, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) issued a warning that scammers are taking advantage of the new student loan forgiveness plan by targeting borrowers who are desperate for relief. And sure enough, on subreddits like r/Scams, people are sharing stories about how these predatory scammers tried to use their debt against them.

To help you keep your information safe, here are eight real people's experiences with these scammers, plus how you can tell that what they're offering isn't legit:

1.First of all, the application for student loan forgiveness isn't even out yet — it's set to be announced in October. So if anyone tells you that you need to "apply now," don't do it, it's a scam.

october 2022 calendar

"Yesterday I got my first scam call (didn't answer, just listened to the voicemail) about student loan forgiveness. I'm sure lots of desperate people with student loans will fall for it. Nice sounding man says that loan payment forbearance will end on December 31 (which is correct), then says that I 'may' be eligible for loan forgiveness, BUT I will have to 'complete the application' that I had already begun (incorrect, I never applied for forgiveness, and the application for the forgiveness Biden recently announced hasn't yet been set up).

He told me that I had to call back TODAY (creating a sense of urgency, thus allowing no time for critical thinking). Please beware of these. Check the official Department of Education website for legitimate updates!"

u/some-astronaut-6907

Anna Kurzaeva / Getty Images

BTW, if you want to get notified ASAP when the application does go live, you can subscribe to Federal Student Loan Borrower Updates via the Department of Education.

2.And nobody legitimate is calling people to offer student loan forgiveness right now. If you get phone calls about anything student loan related, hang up and call your servicer directly, because the person who called you was most likely a scammer.

person holding a smartphone with an incoming call marked scam

"Yesterday I got a phone call from a telemarketer telling me that I qualify for student loan relief under Biden's new loan forgiveness plan. Then they asked me if I had gotten any emails about this. Yup, I've gotten emails about it directly from the federal government. Click. I laughed so hard at hearing the sound of them being hung up on.

Not 10 mins later, I get an email from FSFA telling me my student ID has been locked. I'm amazed at how fast these scammers have figured out a way to bilk people on this loan forgiveness."

u/level_amphibian_6249

B4lls / Getty Images/iStockphoto

3.Scammers aren't just working the phones. Unfortunately, you might also find a student loan scam in your mailbox, too.

woman going through her mail

"This literally happened yesterday and I'm freaking out. I'm embarrassed because I didn't trust my 'this sounds too good to be true' gut feeling.

I got a letter in the mail after I got on my FSA account wanting more info on the Biden forgiveness plan. The letter seemed legit. It had my exact total of student loans and said I need to finish some stuff before the deadline for Biden's plan and blah blah blah.

I called the number, talked for two hours (but my god, if my student loans can be reduced, I'll talk for 10 hours straight). I'll do it while listening to the worst 'on hold' music. What I'm saying is, please be nice to me. I was desperate and let my guard down and now I'm freaking out.

After hanging up, I did a little Google and my heart sank when my intuition was proven right. Scammed. And I gave them my social security number, and my account and routing number on my bank account. I already called my bank and I have a hold and am getting a new account so that's solved. But what do I do about the social?"

u/illdiefortrashtv

"Freeze your credit (all three bureaus) ASAP. It’s free and you can easily lift it when you need to use it yourself."

u/nicolesy

Andresr / Getty Images

4.Scammers might try and trick you into thinking they're affiliated with the government by using government logos and name-dropping agencies. Don't respond to them, and only work with your loan servicer or Federal Student Aid directly.

5.You won't have to pay for student loan forgiveness, so anyone who tries to charge you for it is a scammer.

hundred dollar bill hanging on a hook

"I think my partner got scammed by one of the calls that have been going around about the student debt relief. By the time I realized who they were on the phone with, they were giving out their card information and electronically signing their signature on stuff. They were told that they had only a 'limited time' before they were no longer eligible and that instead of the $20K forgiveness they would be eligible for later on, it was going to be significantly more (like everything except for a few grand).

The company (I don’t know the name) told them that they just had to make four payments of $200, then it would only be $10/month for the remainder. I tried interrupting to ask them why they needed to make payments when everything is still deferred until the beginning of the year and they just told me to stop talking.

I had this uneasy feeling, so much so that later tonight I woke up them to ask them to talk about it so we could at least contact the bank or set an alarm for in the morning to call their actual student loan borrower service, and they told me that it was a '.org company and that there are certain requirements for people to register with that so it’s legit' and that 'they didn’t want to talk about it in the middle of the night.'

I tried talking to them about it this morning and they again said it was legit and the people knew their FSA ID and social security number. I don't know what to do."

u/sapphicsourdough

Velishchuk / Getty Images/iStockphoto

6.They might already have some of your information, and they'll use it to appear legit and trick you into revealing even more by "confirming" things like your social security number. So don't confirm anything — hang up the phone and only talk with your student loan servicer directly.

woman talking on the phone

"These people managed to get a hold of my studentaid.gov login and password and changed them after we got connected on the phone. How? I have no idea! I didn't give them any information regarding my login.

[Update] They reset my password because I got tricked into thinking they're sending me a text verification code and had to confirm with them but in fact that code is for resetting my password on studentaid.gov! Be very wary!

They asked me for all kinds of personal information, including my driver's license number and two references.

I was then told I was forgiven but have about $2000+ to pay off right now. And when I said I'm not comfortable paying right now and to send me the invoice, they said no problem and continued asking more questions. When they asked to confirm my social security number, I said I'm not comfortable giving that over the phone. They insisted and even gave me my last four digits and asked that I confirm that whole number.

These people are spineless low lives. When I have time, I plan to bombard them with phone calls!!"

u/nem0z0

Fizkes / Getty Images/iStockphoto

7.Your chance at student loan forgiveness is not about to expire (the application isn't even open yet, remember). So anyone who says you have to act now or you'll lose it forever — you guessed it — that's a scammer.

sand in an hourglass

"Watch out for scam calls about student loan forgiveness! Looks like, as usual, scammers work quickly.

While on the phone with my loan servicer today, I received (and ignored) another phone call from the number (855) 728-2393. It went to voicemail and they left the following message:

'Hey, this is Liz with Student Support. My number is 800-XXX-XXXX. I'm just giving you a call in regards to your student loans. I do have a pre-qualified here for the updated forgiveness program and possibly even discharge. It's just imperative that we go over the details as soon as possible just because it does look like your status will expire soon, but I will keep you on pending status for now, so I do hope to hear from you soon and have a great day.'

Since NOBODY has details about the status for forgiveness, and I was on the phone with my actual loan servicer at the time, I'm 100% sure this is a scam. Beware!"

u/wishforever

Jordan Lye / Getty Images

8.In some cases, scammers are even going after people who've paid off their loans in full and trying to scare them into thinking that they still owe.

man holding a cell phone with fake stamped over a text message on the screen

"I got a new one today and I figured I'd share. I knew something was off because (red flag #1) I paid my student loans off in January and they were talking about the new student loan forgiveness program.

The original voicemail was from 'Jade' with 'Student Support.' Red flag #2 was calling from one number and then giving a separate return number. Red flag #3 was when I called back the first number, it said I needed to call the number in the voicemail to talk to my 'account specialist.'

Red Flag #4 was when I called the number in the voicemail and they transferred me to a man who was definitely not 'Jade' and spoke extremely poor English. When he asked me if I had student loans, I said, 'No, I paid them off,' and he tried to explain that was an error. I cut him off and told him, 'No, I'm pretty sure this is just a scam.' Red flag #5 was when he immediately hung up on me when I said the word 'scam.'

Don't fall for it!"

u/tweetspie

B4lls / Getty Images/iStockphoto

If you get contacted by one of these scammers, you can take action by reporting them to the FTC, submitting a complaint to Federal Student Aid, and submitting a complaint to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. The more info these agencies get about student loan forgiveness scammers, the more they can do to shut them down.

And if you have mistakenly given your information to a student loan scammer, Federal Student Aid advises contacting your loan servicer and your bank and/or credit card company immediately to make sure there isn't any fraudulent activity.

Freezing your credit is another great free way to keep scammers from setting up new accounts in your name.

Have you been contacted by a student loan forgiveness scammer? Tell us about it in the comments.