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.
Recently the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) filed a lawsuit against SL Finance LLC and its owners Michael Castillo and Chirstian Castillo as well as against BCO Consulting Services Inc. and SLA Consulting Services Inc. and their owners Gianni Oilang, Brandon Clores, Kishan Bhakta and Allan Radam alleging that they lured unsuspecting victims into paying approximately 12 million dollars in illegal upfront fees by lying about repayment programs and loan forgiveness programs that never existed. The companies also lied about being affiliated with the Department of Education as well as telling their victims that the money paid to them would be used to reduce their loans.
The FTC has obtained a temporary injunction shutting down the scammers while the cases against them proceed in court.
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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