On Your Side: Experts warn of increased student loan scams
SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) - With student loan re-payments being put on pause until the end of August, that’s opened the doors for scammers.
People may be confused about when, or what they have to pay. That confusion is what scammers are looking to take advantage of.
Emily Stout fell victim to one of those student loan scams. Her biggest advice to others, do a lot of research on a company before getting into business with them.
”The material was that enticing ‘we can help you re-configure your loan for a lower monthly payment,’” Stout says. “Who isn’t looking to save a buck. Or a hundred. That was the one thing that really hooked me in.”
Stout was scammed out of more than $500.
“It sounded extremely legit,” Stout says. “They even would call every few months just to make sure everything was going okay or hey we have this new repayment tier you might qualify for.”
Stout says she tried emailing the company several times but they kept bouncing back. That’s what raised red flags for her. Stout says because of that, she keeps a copy of all the times the scammers try to reach back out to her.
“If it was still going I’m sure my loan would never have had anything sent to them and I’d be out a lot more money,” Stout says.
OTC’s Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs Joan Barrett says although the student loan re-payments being deferred are helpful, they can lead to confusion. That’s where scammers take advantage of people.
“Never to offer anything personal of your information,” Barrett says. “If something were truly an authority in contacting you, they would have all of that information. You do not need to affirm that information.”
Cybersecurity expert Shannon McMurtrey says you should never click on a link from an email or text message. Instead, McMurtrey says you should always go to the official website yourself.
“It just plays on your sense of urgency,” McMurtrey says. “It plays on your emotions. Tries to get you to act fast and act without thinking.”
McMurtrey says if you get a phone call, ask to call back and use the official customer service number.
“It’s very easy to spoof any phone number so they could actually use the phone number from Chase and call you from that bank and you may be a Chase customer and think it’s legitimate,” McMurtrey says. “Again, don’t share anything that they’re reaching out asking for information. Don’t share that information.”
If you do give away information, McMurtrey advises calling the credit agencies to put a freeze on your credit. McMurtrey says that way scammers aren’t able to open up accounts pretending to be you.
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