INDIANAPOLIS — Student loan repayments are back and so are the scam calls claiming to help you pay those loans off faster.
Like millions of other Hoosiers, Anne Schlotman took out student loans to better herself and get a well-paying job.
“I went to IUPUI for one year in 1995 and I took one loan out for that year, which was roughly $9,000,” Schlotman said. “I owe Navient $24,000 and I have been paying $300 a month for the last three years. It hasn’t moved.”
Schlotman kept receiving phone calls about her student loans even when she was paying them. One call claimed to be a company that could help her pay off her loan faster, but that wasn't the case.
"They told me if I paid them X amount of money, they would basically help me consolidate it and help me get rid of it. They took my money and I never heard from them again,” Schlotman said.
Phone calls are just one way the Better Business Bureau says scammers can target you, which is why they are warning borrowers to be on the lookout.
"They are going to call, text, email — they may even try to contact you through social media — and they are either going to pose as a government official, government entity or loan provider,” Jennifer Adamany, with BBB, said.
The BBB says you should do the following:
Get to know your loan and relief program before acting
Be vary of out-of-the-blue calls, emails or text messages
Watch out for phony government agencies or programs
"So even if you get something in the mail, don't assume that it is legitimate. You want to take the time to verify it. Go to studentaid.gov and log into your FSA account. If you have actual contact information for your provider, contact them," Adamany said.
As for borrowers like Schlotman, she hopes there will be some sort of government relief soon.
"I'd be willing to pay if we could come up with hope at the end of the tunnel,” Schlotman said.
In the meantime, she has some advice to other borrowers.
"If it sounds too good to be true, it's a scam,” Schlotman said.
If you've spotted a student loan forgiveness scam, whether you've lost money or not, the BBB says you should report it to their scam tracker.
The following are warning signs of a scam:
- You're being pressured to pay up-front fees
- You're promised immediate student loan forgiveness or debt cancellation
- Someone guarantees they can remove legally owed debts from your credit report
- The scammer demands you sign a third party authorization
- Someone asks you for your federal student aid information