LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — The extension on federal student loan repayment pause until the end of August has given borrowers more time to prepare, but it’s also opened up opportunities for scammers.
8 News Now gained some critical insight from a student loan debt scam expert on what Nevada borrowers need to know.
“We’re seeing this every single week, we’ve even seen a company spoof another company’s 1-800 number, and it comes up on your caller ID as though it’s your lender,” said YREFY managing partner Mary Jo Terry.
Terry helps with sending out the alarm of scammers taking full advantage of confusion borrowers may have when it comes to their student loans.
“The biggest one is ‘hey, I see you were previously on auto-debit, lets update your bank account information,” she added.
Here’s where the confusion comes into play: during the COVID-19 pandemic, the CARES Act postponed federal loans and repayment with no interest accruing. That repayment extension continues to get pushed back.
Loan servicers have changed, and scammers are banking on the fact that borrowers haven’t looked at their own accounts over the past two years.
In Nevada, borrowers have racked up about $26 billion worth of student loan debt.
If you’re one of those borrowers, Terry said you need to go to studentaid.gov, log in, update your profile information, and find out who your loan servicer is.
If anyone tries to get in contact with you, you will know what your balance is and you won’t fall for any of these scams. But if you already have, here’s what she said you need to to right now.
“If you’ve given out personal information that you feel someone could open up a credit card in your name for example, or some kind of line of credit, notify the credit bureaus,” she advised. “You can do it all online, they have 1-800 numbers, just put a fraud alert, it’s not going to cost you, not going to hurt you, and if somebody tries to do something nefarious, you’re going to get notified.”
If someone contacts you, notify your loan servicer, and remember it’s free to enroll in a federal program, the forms and assistance are free.