Learn more at the Better Business Bureau of Acadiana.
BBB Scam Alert: Student Debt Forgiveness – for a fee?
(BBB)- Navient has more than 10 million student loan clients and recently settled a student loan forgiveness lawsuit. The results of the settlement won’t affect what individual borrowers owe. However, scammers were quick to notice this news item and are now targeting borrowers with false claims of debt forgiveness – for a fee. Here’s what you need to know.
How the Scam Works
You receive a call from a person claiming to represent Navient. They explain that as a part of the lawsuit settlement, your student debt is partially or completely forgiven. Of course, you’ll need to confirm your personal information and pay a fee to “transfer” the debt from Navient to “the Department of Education” or another official-sounding organization. These claims are based on actual procedures you may in fact qualify for, but this unsolicited caller is not working in an official capacity or related to any of the organizations cited in the call.
The caller explains the fees necessary, usually on a monthly basis, then request either debit or credit card information. Then, they will begin making withdrawals according to the payment plan you agreed to. Many consumers notice something is wrong when their Navient loan payment continues to be required, even after setting up payments with the new company.
Navient customers will not receive a phone call offering to transfer your loan. If you engage with these con artist callers, you could compromise your personal information and lose money as well. Instead, look for other options such as the Public Service Loan Forgiveness and Department of Education for deferral or other information in relation to your type of loan.
How to Avoid the Scam
- Understand how the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program works. Thanks to the lawsuit settlement, you can now request information from Navient about whether or not you qualify for student loan forgiveness. Keep in mind that you must initiate a request for information.
- Don’t take unsolicited callers at their word. Remember that legitimate businesses and government offices do not call people without their permission. If you receive a call out of the blue, don’t be quick to give out your personal information, even if the caller offers you a great deal.
- When in doubt, hang up. If you aren’t sure about a caller and their claims, ask for a call back number, hang up, and do your research. A little digging will usually reveal if you were speaking with a legitimate company or not.
- Visit official websites to learn about loan forgiveness. You can find out more about whether you qualify for loan forgiveness by visiting the Federal Student Aid website and Navient’s official website.
For More Information
For more information, see BBB Tip: New college grads, watch out for these scams and BBB Tip: Student Loan Forgiveness.You can also find general information about common scam tactics by visiting BBB.org/AvoidScams.
If you’ve been a victim of a student loan forgiveness scam, please report it at BBB.org/ScamTracker. By boosting scam awareness, you can help put a stop to common scams.
“Look for the Seal” and Start with Trust®. BBB Serving Acadiana is a private non-profit organization that strives for a trustworthy marketplace by maintaining standards for truthful advertising, investigating and exposing fraud against consumers and businesses.
Please contact Better Business Bureau at (337) 981-3497 24 or bbb.org 24 hours a day for information on businesses throughout North America. Consumers can also sign up for our free BBB “Scoop” eNewsletter by visiting bbb.org and clicking on the “Programs & Services” tab.
BBB Serving Acadiana services the parishes of Acadia, Evangeline, Iberia, Lafayette, St. Martin, St. Landry and Vermilion.