FTC CONTINUES TO CRACKDOWN ON STUDENT LOAN SCAM Updated A lot of us have student loans – and some of us have trouble paying them every month. Some companies claim to resolve that issue by saying they can help you pay them down quicker, cheaper, or get them forgiven altogether. Be cautious – some of these companies are running scams. Here are some tips to avoid student loan repayment scams:
- Never pay an upfront fee. It’s illegal for companies to charge you in advance before helping you to reduce or get rid of your student loan debt. Companies that make you pay upfront might give you no help and not give your money back.
- Only scammers promise fast loan forgiveness. Before they know your situation, scammers might say they can quickly get rid of your loans through a loan forgiveness program. But they can’t.
- A Department of Education seal doesn’t mean it’s legit. Scammers use official-looking names and logos and say they have special access to certain federal programs. They don’t.
- Don’t share your Federal Student Aid (FSA) ID with anyone. Scammers could use it to take control of your personal financial aid information on U.S. Department of Education websites.
Last month, the FTC announced a lawsuit against American Financial Benefits Center (AFBC), Financial Education Benefits Center (FEBC), AmeriTech Financial, and Brandon Demond Frere as part of its crackdown against unlawful student loan debt relief practices, Operation Game of Loans. The FTC alleges that the companies charged illegal, upfront fees and failed to deliver on their promises to enroll people into a government program that they claimed would permanently lower monthly loan payments or result in total loan forgiveness. The FTC also alleges the companies charged a monthly fee for the life of the loan (typically 10-25 years) and represented that the fee would go towards the student loan balance. But it didn’t. You don’t have to pay for help with your student loans. There’s nothing a company can do for you that you cannot do yourself for free: federal borrowers can start with StudentAid.gov/repay; private borrowers can start by talking with their loan servicer.
PHONE SCAM – Updated FCC Warns Consumers on ‘Can You Hear Me’ Phone Scam: The FCC today is warning consumers about a scam that aims to trick people into saying “yes” during a recorded phone call. The scammer asks the target “Can you hear me?” and when the victim says “Yes” that response is recorded and can be used later to authorize unwanted charges on a credit card or utility accounts, the FCC said in a consumer alert today. The FCC has received dozens of complaints about the scams, a spokesperson said. In some instances, the fraudulent callers pretend to be from an organization that might be familiar to the person receiving the call, such as a mortgage lender, the FCC said. The alert encourages consumers not to answer calls from unknown numbers and lets them go to voicemail instead.
TEXT MESSAGE SCAM – Updated Recently, several of our members received a text message from local credit unions alerting them that there is an issue with their account. The text wants you to click on a link to confirm your personal information. Please be advised that this is a scam and was not initiated by local area credit unions. Do not reply to the link or provide any personal information. Delete this text message immediately.
REMINDER: IRCO will never send a text or email asking for this type of information. If you have any questions, please contact us at 908-859-1811. GENERAL FRAUD PROTECTION INFORMATION BE AWARE: No credit union association, federal regulator, or state league will send you a message via e-mail asking for your identification numbers.
- DO NOT use the link in these messages, simply delete the message.
- CONTACT US immediately if you have any questions.
For more information visit the following websites for more valuable information on protecting your family from fraud:
We also have several brochures that may help to explain how to protect yourself against new and existing threats that are present on the internet and the measures that have been implemented to protect your personal identity.