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On Your Side: Student loan forgiveness scam

Published: Jul. 1, 2021 at 5:39 PM CDT
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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) - We all know COVID-19 packed a punch on our wallets. We did get relief. Most of us received stimulus checks. The unemployed got pandemic pay. Now, there are emails going around -- saying you can get student loan forgiveness.

One email reads, ‘Your st‎uden‎t‎‎‎ l‎oa‎n‎ maybe ‎el‎‎‎ig‎ib‎le f‎or the r‎ece‎nt stimulus forg‎i‎vene‎ss and ‎reli‎e‎f legislation.’

Dale Underwood received the email. He graduated from Missouri State University more than ten years ago. He, like most, graduated with debt.

“I could put a down payment on a nice home with what I owe. I mean, the stimulus package itself, there’s a lot of things out there with it,” he said.

On Your Side showed the email to a student aid expert.

“The email address that it was sent from is not a business email address. It was an outlook and it was kind of a funny email address with just lots of characters,” said Becky Ahrens, Director of Financial Aid at Drury University.

The email goes on to say, ‘Your application does need to be completed.’

“You can’t finish an application that you haven’t started. And if they’re reaching out to you asking you to finish an application that you don’t remember working on, chances are it’s a scam,” said Ahrens.

There are real loan forgiveness programs for teachers, public servants and health care providers. There’s a process.

“Those are very specific kinds of loan forgiveness. And the best source for finding out information on those is to call your loan servicer. Just like you wouldn’t call your utility company about your mortgage. If you have questions about your student loans, call your student loan servicer,” said Ahrens.

Underwood did not respond. He deleted the email.

“We take so many things at face value. When it comes to the internet, nothing is at face value,” he said.

Use caution with random phone calls and emails about loan consolidation and forgiveness programs. If they use high pressure tactics, like saying you must respond today, it’s probably a scam.

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