(WSAV) – Now that the federal government has announced the end of an almost three-year pause on student loans, many scammers are using this opportunity to steal your personal information. The Better Business Bureau (BBB) has already received multiple reports of individuals receiving false information about “new 2023 guidelines.” Many scammers hide behind phrases like these to try to steal your personal information.  

How the scam works  

According to the BBB, you receive a phone call, text, email or letter from someone offering you “student loan consolidation” or a “student loan reduction program.” After you respond, they ask you for personal information to confirm your eligibility. Then, you begin making payments to a third-party service that never puts any payment toward your current student loans.  

Even if you never make payments, sharing any personal information puts you at risk for identity theft.  

How to avoid student loan forgiveness scams  

The BBB recommends you familiarize yourself with the terms of your student loan and relief program before making payments. Your student loan servicer could have changed within the last three years, so make sure you find your current loan servicer and stay in contact with them.

Never pay money for a free government program. Some scams will pretend to offer you benefits if you pay for an “upgraded” version of your student loan program. A real government agency will not ask you for these types of fees.  

Be cautious of random phone calls, emails, or text messages impersonating the government. Most likely, the government will not contact you through these channels unless you grant them permission.

Notice something unusual? Call the agency directly. You can locate official contact information on ED.gov and studentaid.gov.    

For more information

Visit BBB.org to learn more about scams and report suspicious activity.