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How to Spot Student Loan Forgiveness Scams

Published: November 7, 2022 | Updated: November 8, 2022

By now, you’ve heard the news: some of your student loans could be forgiven. President Biden announced that his administration would cancel $10,000 of student debt for eligible borrowers and $20,000 of student debt for those who received Pell Grants as part of their financial aid package. It’s a big win for millions of borrowers across the country. But scam artists also consider the news as a potential windfall. That’s because posing as someone from the program, they might be able to steal your identity and your money. Watch out! To avoid falling prey to any student loan forgiveness scams, look for these red flags:

You’re Asked to Provide Your FSA ID

If you receive a message that asks for your Federal Student Aid ID, delete it immediately. Neither the U.S. Department of Education nor your student loan servicer will ask for your ID, but shady actors in suspect debt relief companies will. According to, your FSA ID has the same legal status as a written signature. If you share it with someone, they could use it to gain Power of Attorney and make changes like they’re you.

You’re Asked to Provide Your Personal Information Over the Phone

The official Federal Student Loan Debt Relief form requires your personal information, including your Social Security Number and your date of birth, so the Department of Education can identify you and determine your eligibility. But they will not ask you to provide this information via email or over the phone. Any company that asks you to provide this information verbally or in writing is phishing for personal information.

You’re Asked to Pay Money for Student Loan Forgiveness

The student debt relief process is completely free of charge. There is no cost to access to fill out the form, or to have your student debt forgiven. If a company asks you for money in exchange for faster debt relief, this is a red flag. Although some debt relief companies can legitimately ask for money, they cannot promise you a shorter wait time for student loan forgiveness nor should they ask you for money up front.

You’re Promised Immediate Student Loan Forgiveness

Some companies promise to relieve your student loan debt immediately, even if it’s at no cost to you. This is another red flag because student loan debt forgiveness is not an immediate process. If you qualify for the new program, it could take weeks or months for your application to be processed and your account to reflect a new balance. If you aren’t eligible, it can take years of qualifying payments under the Public Service Loan Forgiveness plan or an Income-Driven Repayment plan before your debt is forgiven. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably isn’t true.

Additional Tips for Student Loan Forgiveness

Sometimes scammers send sophisticated emails or letters that look legitimate, making it hard to tell the difference between real correspondence and fake messages. Here are some additional tips to help you spot the scams:

  • Is the logo in an email or on a letter blurry or oddly sized? If so, it was probably illegitimately lifted from a real website and used to deceive you.
  • Are there grammar errors or misspelled words? It’s probably a scam.
  • If the email includes claims to be from a government website, hover over it to see the full URL. If it doesn’t end in “.gov,” it’s not from the government.
  • Did you get a phone call or voicemail? Google the number to find where it’s coming from. If your student loan servicer comes up, it’s not a scam. But if the number isn’t recognized or appears on telephone scam websites, block it.

What to Do If You’ve Been Scammed with Student Loans

Scammers can be convincing, so if you think you’ve given one access to your personal information, money, or electronic devices, here’s what to do:

  • If you’ve paid a scammer through a credit card, wire transfer, or payment app, contact the company, and tell them it was a fraudulent charge. Ask them to reverse the transaction so you can get your money back.
  • If the scammer made an unauthorized transfer through your bank account, contact the bank. Tell them the transfer was fraudulent and ask for it to be reversed.
  • If you paid a scammer with cash via mail, contact the U.S. Postal Service and ask them to intercept the package.
  • If you gave your personal information to a scammer, visit and report it.
  • If you gave a scammer access to your loan account, change your password immediately.
  • If a scammer gained access to your computer, update the software, and run a security check. If they took control of your cell phone, contact your service provider to get control back.

You can keep up with reported scams and red flags through the Federal Trade Commission’s website. If you’ve received a scam message or think you’ve been taken advantage of, you can report cases of fraud through the FTC site as well, or by calling 1-877-382-4357.

At Charter College, we understand that the greatest investment you can make is in yourself. Whether you want to prepare for a career in Business, Healthcare, Information Technology, or the Trades, we offer financial aid to ease the cost of tuition as well as resources that can help you become financially literate. Contact us today at 888-200-9942 or fill out the form to learn more.