How to protect yourself against scammers taking advantage of federal student debt forgiveness

Contact your loan servicer directly

Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel is sounding the alarm about potential scammers targeting people after sweeping student loan debt relief was announced.

LANSING, Mich. – Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel is sounding the alarm about potential scammers targeting people after sweeping student loan debt relief was announced.

President Joe Biden’s student loan forgiveness program aims to provide up to $10,000 in student debt cancellation for millions of Americans. Up to 50% of Michigan residents with federal student debt will have their loans cut in half or forgiven entirely through student loan forgiveness, according to state officials.

The decision is expected to benefit up to 1.4 million Michigan residents who have federal student loans. According to state officials, 30% of residents with federal loans, approximately 420,000 people, owe less than $10,000 and this would forgive all of their debt.

Around 50% of Michiganders with federal student debt, approximately 700,000 people, owe less than $20,000, and their debt would be cut in half or forgiven entirely. Nearly 700,000 more Michiganders will receive important loan relief.

Read: Complete student loan forgiveness coverage

Follow these tips to avoid getting scammed

For information about your federal student debt, go directly to the Federal Student Aid website or your loan server’s website.

Do not provide your personal or financial information in response to unsolicited emails, phone calls, or texts even if they claim to be from the government or say they’ll help you obtain debt relief.

Do not pay anyone for help in obtaining the relief.

Do not rush. Scammers try to get you to act fast, they give you a deadline or find other ways to increase pressure. Scammers might say you could miss qualifying for repayment plans, loan consolidation, or loan forgiveness programs if you don’t sign up right away. Take your time and contact your loan servicer directly.

Do not give away your FSA ID. Some scammers might claim they need your FSA ID to help you. Do not share it with anyone. Scammers could use it to get into your account and steal your identity.

Need to report a scam?

If you know of a scam and would like to make a report, you can contact the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection team by filing a complaint online or by calling 877-765-8388.

“The opportunity for debt forgiveness is also an opportunity for scammers to try and gain access to your personal and financial information,” said Nessel. “It is important to remember that the federal government will not proactively email or text you to take advantage of this program. Residents should rely on legitimate sources for information and not fall for messages that create a sense of urgency or demand financial information.”

Here’s how to contact and identify your servicer

Here’s how to find out who your loan servicer is:

  • Visit your account dashboard and scroll down to the “My Loan Servicers” section, or
  • call the Federal Student Aid Information Center (FSAIC) at 1-800-433-3243.

List of loan servicers with links and phone numbers:

About the Author:

Kayla is a Web Producer for ClickOnDetroit. Before she joined the team in 2018 she worked at WILX in Lansing as a digital producer.