More than forty-two million Americans have student loans with an outstanding balance of more than 1.4 trillion dollars so it is no surprise that scammers are focusing their attention on these students and former students through scams that falsely promise to provide debt relief.
In October of 2017 the Federal Trade Commission, working with the Attorneys General of eleven states, launched what it cleverly calls, Operation Game of Loans to jointly target these scams. Some scammers promise dramatic reductions of debt of 50% or more in return for upfront fees of between $500 and $2,500. Often these scam companies have names that make it appear that they are endorsed by the federal government in order to trick people into trusting them. Such was the case with Strategic Student Solutions, which was one of two student relief companies that in 2018 agreed to settle charges against them by paying millions of dollars and agreeing to be banned from debt relief services permanently. Among the company names used by the defendants in these cases were Strategic Credit Solutions, Student Relief Center and the Home Shield Network. Now, almost two years later the FTC is mailing 20,988 checks totaling more than 3.1 million dollars to victims of Strategic Student Solutions. For information about the refund checks go the middle of the first page of Scamicide.com to the FTC refunds section. It is important to remember that there are no charges or fees required to get your refund if you were a victim of the scam. Some scammers try to trick people into paying a fee to them in order to be eligible for a refund.
The old adage still is true. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably isn’t true. Many of these student loan debt relief scammers promise quick loan forgiveness, which is unrealistic. In addition, you should never pay any upfront fees for student loan debt relief assistance. Those fees are illegal and are a sure indication that you are being scammed. Also, remember my motto, “trust me, you can’t trust anyone.” Don’t trust scammers merely because they use names that sound like they are affiliated with the government.
For information you can trust about federal student loan repayment option, go to https://studentaid.ed.gov/sa/repay-loans . There you can learn about loan deferments, forbearance, repayment and loan forgiveness programs and there is never an application fee. If you owe private student loans, contact your loan servicer directly.
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