KSL INVESTIGATES

How to stay protected from student loan forgiveness scams

Aug 30, 2022, 6:25 PM | Updated: 7:19 pm

SALT LAKE CITY — One point six trillion dollars: That’s how much federal student loan debt Americans have racked up.

When President Biden announced plans to provide debt relief for up to 43 million people, not only did it catch the attention of borrowers, it caught the ears of scam artists.

“As soon as the announcement went out, within hours, we were getting reports that were out from our customers saying that they were getting solicited with student loan type scam,” said Zulfikar Ramzan, chief scientist with Aura, a cybersecurity company that helps folks stay safe online.

One thing he said scam artists are already doing is telling people they can help them jump to the front of the line.

“You don’t want to be the person waiting at the end because it may take you years to get your check,” Ramzan said. “And all of a sudden they scare people into thinking that there’s a sense of urgency.”

How to qualify for Biden’s new student loan forgiveness plan

Ramzan said no one can get you in early. Besides, we are still weeks away from even knowing the details of how the programs will work.

“And it’s in that moment of chaos and confusion that scammers thrive. because they thrive on that misinformation, they thrive on that ability when people are confused,” he explained.

Sometimes, the scammers are snagging money; they will demand upfront fees for guaranteed access and that is illegal. But often, they are snagging identities. Ramzan warns once you share any personal information – including your federal student aid ID, you cannot pull it back.

“I’m never getting that back when it’s out there,” Ramzan said. “It can be used five, 10, 15 years from now in a way that’s quite daunting to think about.”

Ramzan said scammers might know or take lucky guesses that you have a federal student loan. If you get a call, text, email, or even a direct message on social media out of the blue from a company you’ve never heard of – it’s likely a bad guy.

The Department of Education is not going to call or text to sign you up for student debt relief. And make sure you’re not applying for help on a fake government website.

“Don’t take instructions from anybody other than an official government website and follow that path,” he said. “And if you do that, you’ll avoid many of these scammers.”

Details on whether you are eligible for federal student loan forgiveness can be found on the Department of Education’s Federal Student Aid website.

In many cases, borrowers will automatically qualify if the Department of Education has their income information. Otherwise, an application process is expected to go live in the next several weeks.

KSL 5 TV Live

KSL Investigates

(KSL TV)...

Annie Knox and Daniella Rivera

5 things to know about KSL’s legal fight for transparency

How much should Utahns get to know about how elected officials spend their time on the clock? The question is at the center of a legal fight taking KSL to court Monday.

6 hours ago

Homeowner Mark Shea tells KSL’s Matt Gephardt he paid someone to build a deck who abandoned the j...

Matt Gephardt

Get Gephardt: Homeowners ask why authorities can’t shut down an unlicensed contractor

Two Salt Lake County homeowners hired and paid someone to build decks for their homes but say he left the jobs unfinished. Turns out, he’s been cited by the state for not having a contractor’s license before.

4 days ago

Senate President Stuart Adams, R-Layton, and Sen. Curt Bramble, R-Provo, react to a reporter’s qu...

Daniella Rivera and Annie Knox, KSL TV

‘More secrecy’: Utah lawmakers advance bills targeting government transparency

Several bills would chip away at government transparency in Utah, including one proposal that’s a direct response to KSL’s fight for public records. A First Amendment attorney says he’s alarmed.

4 days ago

Matt Gephardt, journalists, looks as paper with a woman...

Matt Gephardt and Cimaron Neugebauer

Get Gephardt: Ticketmaster seizes back purchased seats

Imagine buying tickets to a show, then having the seller refuse to give them to you. That’s what happened to a Utah woman, when she got a refund she didn’t ask for.

5 days ago

Sen. Curt Bramble and members of a Senate committee talk about a bill designed to keep elected offi...

Daniella Rivera and Annie Knox

Should you get to see elected officials’ calendars? These Utah lawmakers say no

The KSL Investigators are days away from going to court to argue for your right to see the Utah Attorney General's work calendar. As we fight for transparency, lawmakers are stepping in to make it so the public doesn't get to see this record of how officials spend their time.

6 days ago

Penny Belgard looks at a photobook with pictures of her son Cody, who was killed by Salt Lake City ...

Daniella Rivera and Annie Knox, KSL TV

Cases on the clock: KSL Investigates lengthy delays in SL County’s police use of force decisions

Months and years tick by as Salt Lake County’s top prosecutor weighs whether he’ll clear or charge officers for using force. The KSL Investigators explore the cost of that wait for officers, families, and public safety.

7 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Modern chandelier hanging from a white slanted ceiling with windows in the backgruond...

Lighting Design

Light Up Your Home With These Top Lighting Trends for 2024

Check out the latest lighting design trends for 2024 and tips on how you can incorporate them into your home.

Technician woman fixing hardware of desktop computer. Close up....

PC Laptops

Tips for Hassle-Free Computer Repairs

Experiencing a glitch in your computer can be frustrating, but with these tips you can have your computer repaired without the stress.

Close up of finger on keyboard button with number 11 logo...

PC Laptops

7 Reasons Why You Should Upgrade Your Laptop to Windows 11

Explore the benefits of upgrading to Windows 11 for a smoother, more secure, and feature-packed computing experience.

Stylish room interior with beautiful Christmas tree and decorative fireplace...

Lighting Design

Create a Festive Home with Our Easy-to-Follow Holiday Prep Guide

Get ready for festive celebrations! Discover expert tips to prepare your home for the holidays, creating a warm and welcoming atmosphere for unforgettable moments.

Battery low message on mobile device screen. Internet and technology concept...

PC Laptops

9 Tips to Get More Power Out of Your Laptop Battery

Get more power out of your laptop battery and help it last longer by implementing some of these tips from our guide.

Users display warnings about the use of artificial intelligence (AI), access to malicious software ...

Les Olson

How to Stay Safe from Cybersecurity Threats

Read our tips for reading for how to respond to rising cybersecurity threats in 2023 and beyond to keep yourself and your company safe.

How to stay protected from student loan forgiveness scams