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How to avoid student loan payment scams

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Lake Charles, LA (KPLC) — Student loan repayments will soon return, but not before part of it is canceled by the Biden administration.

The Student Debt Relief Plan was announced in August to help many people get back to regular payment. As with any money program, sometimes things can seem too good to be true, and scammers are out to take advantage.

Angela Guth of the Southwest Louisiana Better Business Bureau says it’s important to look at the form of communication used.

“The government will not contact you by phone, text or social media instant messaging. They won’t contact you that way. it’s all unsolicited contact. If you’ve applied for some kind of grant, there’s going to be a very long application where you have to enter that information, and then you’ll start getting that correspondence in the mail, by snail mail, Guth said.

Many Americans haven’t had to pay their student loans since before the COVID-19 pandemic, so it will take some getting used to to start payments again. These payments will resume in January 2023. Americans have until December 31, 2023 to apply for the Student Debt Relief Plan.

“They [scammers] are going to go after anybody, any student who has an unpaid debt and try to get them to divulge personal information, try to tell them to pay fees up front, for promises to cancel their loan, and then they will seize that information and steal their financial information, Guth said.

Here are some helpful tips to keep in mind before sending money to anyone.

“You always have to check things out first. Go directly to [government] websites, look and see what your refund stipulations are. Whenever you have a student loan, check who the lender is, call them, talk to them on the phone, call that number directly. Never deal with someone who calls you out of the blue, hang up on them and call your lender to check with them before giving out any personal or financial information,” Guth said.

For more information on the Student Debt Relief Plan, you can visit ED.gov and studentaid.gov.