Paying off your student loans can be stressful, especially during a pandemic. To help out, the president signed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act into law to provide some flexibility and temporary relief to those working to pay off their federal student loans. Federal student loans that qualify for this program have been placed in administrative forbearance, meaning payments to these loans can be stopped until September 30th. While you don’t need to enroll in this program, it’s essential to verify that your loans qualify before you stop making payments.
With so much information regarding student loans, it can be easy to get carried away by claims of faster loan payoffs and payment relief. Debt relief companies that claim to offer these types of services are looking to obtain your financial and personal information. Be sure to pay close attention to any emails or letters from companies offering relief from student loans. Many of these fraudulent schemes have similar claims and ask for the same information. Be aware of the following:
- State that they have an affiliation with the U.S Department of Education.
- Warn you that student loan forgiveness programs are limited, will end soon, and that you should act immediately.
- Promise automatic and complete loan forgiveness or cancellation.
- Ask for your Federal Student Aid ID username and password. Anyone with access to this information can make changes to your loans without your permission.
- Require upfront payments or monthly fees for their "services." These services can be easily managed by yourself and are provided free of charge by the U.S Department of Education and their loan providers.
- Send emails or letters with spelling and grammatical errors. Pay close attention to unusual capitalization or incomplete sentences.
Always take time to review and conduct responsible research before paying for a product or handing over your personal information. If you are unsure if the company you are working with is reliable, review this list of trusted companies that work with the U.S Department of Education, StudentAid.gov/manage-loans/repayment/servicers.
For more information on how to protect yourself from scams, frauds, and identity theft visit, MaricopaCountyAttorney.org/Family