Today, President Joe Biden announced his plan to forgive $10,000 in student loan debt for federal borrowers around the country. With 60 million Americans accounting for about $1.6 trillion worth of debt, it's clearly a first step in the right direction.
Still, given the deadline for pushing the student loan debt freeze until the end of the year, it's safe to assume that many will be looking for ways to keep up with payments when they resume in 2023. Unfortunately, scammers are always going to scam, so many will likely try to take advantage of borrowers for even more money through student loan forgiveness scams.
We've got your back, though. Student loan scams should be pretty easy to spot if you know what to look for, and we can give you a few tips on how to generally stay safe online.
How to Spot a Student Loan Scam
As with any scam, being vigilant is your best bet for warding off any negative consequences. Student loan scams are the same, as there are some telltale signs that will let you know that you're not dealing with someone that can forgive your student loans.
First off, watch out for advertising language in email, text, and phone calls. There are some key phrases that FederalStudentAid points out, which should be immediate red flags:
- “Act immediately to qualify for student loan forgiveness before the program is discontinued.”
- “Your student loans may qualify for complete discharge. Enrollments are first come, first served.”
- “Student alerts: Your student loan is flagged for forgiveness pending verification. Call now!”
While there are true student loan forgiveness plans available for borrowers, they aren't being doled out like a radio show sweepstakes. Generally speaking, if it seems too good to be true, there's likely a scam afoot.
How to Stay Safe Online
While vigilance can keep you safe from student loan debt, just being online can be pretty risky if you aren't equipped with a bit of common sense. From remembering a million passwords to dodging security breaches, the online world is a mess when it comes to cybersecurity.
Fortunately, there are some tools out there that make life a bit easier. Whether you're a small business or just an individual that doesn't want to get scammed, these online resources can make life a lot easier from day one.
First off, until we can go passwordless, password managers are a security buff's best friend. They let you know if one of your passwords has been compromised and recommend powerful passwords to keep you safe. Antivirus software is also a no-brainer, especially for businesses, as it keeps you safe from malware and other potential risks.