The Michigan Department of Insurance and Financial Services (DIFS) is warning Michiganders to stay protected from scams related to the Biden administration’s new Student Loan Debt Relief Program. The plan is currently blocked by the courts, and scammers have been attempting to take advantage of this uncertainty to steal money or personal information from Michigan student loan borrowers.
Under the program’s eligibility requirements, an estimated 1.3 million Michiganders, and 43 million Americans nationwide, could qualify for some level of relief. Programs with major financial impact such as this create new opportunities for scammers. Scammers seek to take advantage of confusion or the time constraints to obtain Social Security numbers or other personal information for identity theft. Other scammers will claim to be able to help borrowers get relief for a fee and will take the money without providing the services they have offered.
DIFS encourages Michiganders to take the following steps to avoid falling into these scams:
- Never agree to pay for assistance in obtaining student loan relief.
- Never give away your Social Security number or FSA ID. Scammers will often contact you to offer assistance, but will say they need your Federal Student Aid ID or Social Security number to process your application. These people will then use these numbers to steal your identity.
- Do not rely on caller ID. Scammers can use technology to make it look like they are calling from a legitimate business or government agency.
- Don’t trust mailers that appear to be government communications. These may be advertisements for private companies that may have a disclaimer buried in small print.
- Don’t be rushed into taking action or signing paperwork. Some scammers will attempt to rush you into taking action now to ensure you qualify and that you don’t miss a deadline. Be sure to take your time and check out all offers and statements that are made to you.