After four great years of college, and maybe a few extra years at graduate school, an American student can walk away with a crushing amount of debt. Add that to rent or mortgage payments, utilities, groceries, gas, and every other adult expense you can imagine, student loan debt can be a heavy burden to bear. For this reason, scammers have found a target-rich environment of people who are desperate to find a way out.
How this new scam works:
A fraudster contacts you claiming to be from a company affiliated with the United States government. He promises to reduce or completely eliminate your student debt. He will often say that you are “pre-approved” for his company’s programs, and the only thing you need to do to get rid of your student loans is to pay an advance fee of up to $1,500. Once you pay the fee, you will often find that these companies provide no services or provide minimal assistance that you could have received from the U.S. Department of Education for free.
Here are some tips from our friends at the Federal Trade Commission to remember if you are trying to avoid this type of scam:
As always, if you have been victimized by this online scam or any other cyber fraud, be sure to report it to the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center at www.ic3.gov or call your local FBI office.