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Did you hear about the student loan forgiveness? Scammers did, too

The rule of thumb to remember is that applying for the program is free for everyone.

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Photo (c) Zimmytws - Getty Images
The ink is barely dry on President Biden’s cancellation of student debt and scammers are already out trying to bank on his executive order. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) says that anybody who says they can help someone get signed up — or tries to charge someone to get their loan forgiveness registered — is both a liar, and a scammer.

As scammers watched the news unfold, they figured out that on top of who’s eligible and how to apply for the program, there was one crease they could leverage – the Department of Education’s (DOE) lack of a timeline and process on when the program opens up for debt forgiveness. 

The FTC says that the answer to that question is simple: sign up for the DOE’s Federal Student Loan Borrower email updates. That way, borrowers will be notified when the process has “officially” opened. 

Be prepared

“Meanwhile, check on your federal loan servicer: be sure you know who they are, and that they have your most recent contact info. That will help you get the latest on the cancellation and pause,” the FTC’s K. Michelle Grajales said.

“Also, remember that there’s a whole separate program you might be eligible for: the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSFL) program. If you’re eligible, you’ll get federal student loan forgiveness after you have 120 qualifying payments. And until October 31, 2022, the limited waiver offers additional credit for time that previously didn’t count. Check out the PSLF Help Tool to learn more.

Until then, the agency says all anyone has to remember is not to pay anybody who promises early or special access, or guaranteed eligibility. Those are scams, plain and simple. If you spot one, tell the FTC at ReportFraud.ftc.gov.

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