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Scammers continue to target college students

Phone scam targets small business owners seeking financial assistance
Phone scam targets small business owners seeking financial assistance
Published: Jan. 18, 2022 at 6:39 PM MST
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RAPID CITY, S.D. (KEVN) - Student loans were set to go into repayment on February 1, 2022.

Now, President Joe Biden has extended that deadline.

Great news for college alumni, but better news for phone scammers.

“What we’re seeing is people are receiving calls from individuals, unsolicited, saying ‘hey, I can help you get your loan forgiven,” said Mary Jo Terry a phone scam expert and Managing Partner of Yrefy.

Terry said right now, scammers are targeting college graduates on loan programs as the student loan repayment program has been extended to May 2022.

So, how can you tell what’s a scam call?

Usually, they’ll start by asking for personal information such as a name or address.

“They should already have this information if it’s coming from your servicer or a legitimate company,” said Terry, adding other calls will ask, “‘hey, let’s enroll you in an income repayment driven program because you can’t afford your payment right now, or let’s enroll you in a consolidation loan, or let’s help to get you out of default.’”

Then they’ll charge you for it.

“You can get access to all these programs for free,” said Terry.

Another common scam involves individuals calling to ask about your auto-debit information.

“So, if you’re getting a call from someone and they’re saying ‘hey, do you want to stay on auto-debit,’ that’s one question. If your loan it’s coming from your loan servicer, you’re good to go, but if they’re asking for a bunch of personal information like a bank account, routing number, and you don’t know who this organization is, stop the conversation,” explained Terry.

To avoid becoming scammed over the phone, through an email or a letter, Terry advised you arm yourself with information.

“If you haven’t dealt with student loans in the last two years, go to studentaid.gov, figure out who your servicer is, empower yourself, update your own information,” said Terry. This way when someone calls asking about your loans, you know exactly who you’re speaking to.

However, what if you’ve already been scammed?

“Go to studentaid.gov, file a complaint, contact your servicer, and worst-case scenario actually go online and put a fraud alert on your credit,” said Terry.

So, whether it’s 1,5, or 16 missed calls, letters or emails, if you’re not sure who it is, look into it before responding.

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