The Pennsylvania Departments of Education and Banking and Securities are warning people about a surge in scams that are targeting those with student loans.

The scams promise forgiveness on student loans via an email, letter or phone call.  Department representatives say that with the recent pandemic-related pause in student loan payments, public calls for broad-based student loan forgiveness and various executive actions and benefits concerning loan balances have caused an uptick in scammers taking advantage of the confusing situation.  Secretary of Education Noe Ortega said that it’s important for those seeking debt relief connected with student loans to avoid the scams at all costs.

Anyone who gets an unsolicited phone call offering forgiveness, the departments advise that you remain skeptical, as the information may be stolen.  The department also recommends doing research on the company, and do your due diligence on the program itself.  Verify that the email address is from a .gov address, be aware of what legit and fraudulent programs will ask for, and pause before taking any action.

If you do fall victim to the scam, close the account connected with the student loan and stop payment, alert your servicer and closely monitor your credit report.  You can also report the student loan scam to the Federal Trade Commission and to the State Attorney General.