HARRISBURG, Pa. (WKBN) — As student loan interest begins accruing once more and payments are starting back up in October, borrowers should prepare themselves for an influx of scammers that may try to take advantage of the fluctuating environment.
After President Biden’s student loan forgiveness plan was shot down on June 30 by the Supreme Court, he introduced an “on-ramp” repayment plan to slowly ease borrowers back into repayments. Through this automatic safety net, borrowers who are unable to make monthly payments will not see their credit scores impacted or fall into delinquency, but interest will continue to accumulate and any missed payments will still be due when the on-ramp expires on Sept. 30, 2024.
In addition to the on-ramp repayment strategy, the administration also announced the SAVE plan, an income-driven plan that could significantly reduce monthly payments. Like all IDR plans, the SAVE plan calculates monthly payments based on your income and family size, rather than your loan balance. After a set number of qualifying payments, your remaining balance is forgiven.
Another option for eventual loan forgiveness applies to those working in public service occupations. Applicants can earn loan forgiveness after 10 years of repayment while working for a qualifying employer as part of the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program.
Pennsylvania Attorney General Michelle Henry says this turbulent environment offers an opportunity for scammers.
“Scammers are sophisticated and aware of consumer trends, so there is reason to believe the return to student loan payments will result in an influx of attempted fraud, theft, and other criminal activity,” Henry said.
Borrowers should be wary of potential solicitation calls offering loan discharge, forgiveness, cancellation or relief services for a fee. The United States Department of Education and your federal student loan servicer will never charge you a fee for enrolling in any repayment plan.
Another tip is to only answer phone calls from numbers you know — if the call is legitimate, they will leave a message.
One of the best tips to remember is that if an offer seems too good to be true, then it probably is.
Consumers who feel they have been scammed by a student loan debt relief program may file a complaint with the Office of Attorney General online, by phone at 1-800-441-2555, or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.