EWC Financial Aid officials warn student loan borrowers to beware of recent
Monday, May 20, 2019
Eastern Wyoming College staff members have recently received multiple student loan relief scam calls from 1-800-400-7942 to personal cell phones. Voicemails left by the companies include statements such as “I believe we may have called you a while back because you qualify for a reduction in your student loans,” and “You actually have a notification on your federal student loan that you’re not in the lowest possible repayment option. This can be costing you thousands of dollars annually, and tens of thousands over the course of the loan, so it is important that you contact me as soon as possible as this is a time sensitive matter.” Callback numbers given include 844-866-1433 and 858-926-5084, but there are likely additional numbers being provided. Emails and letters are also a common form of communication from companies claiming student loan debt relief.
Staff members called back each number several different times as former student borrowers with loan debt (and once as a financial aid administrator) to gather more information and to better understand the scope of the issue so students and parents could be informed and warned. Each call resulted in different information being given to the presumptive borrower and requested back from the representative. Different business names were provided: Certified Enrollment Center, Student Loan Advisory, and Student Loans Resolution. Several identified themselves as working for the Department of Education, while others only said they could help the borrower qualify for federal loan forgiveness programs. All offered loan reduction and/or forgiveness of up to 90% of the borrower’s student loan debt for any amount of loan over $5,000 as long as the borrower earned at least $1,000 per month and hadn’t already had wages garnished for the loans. Several representatives hung up on the staff members when probing questions were asked or personal info wasn’t freely given. Staff got far enough along in the process with two to get a quote of a “processing fee” of anywhere from $207 to $247 a month.
Because these services can seem legitimate, especially to borrowers stressed with meeting monthly student loan payments, EWC’s Financial Aid Office offers the following tips:
- Work directly with the Department of Education through your federal loan servicer for FREE help in applying for income-based repayment plans that can lower your monthly payments and/or to see if you may qualify for any federal loan forgiveness programs. Find your federal student loan servicer by logging in with your FSA ID to nslds.ed.gov.
- NEVER give your Federal Student Aid ID to ANYONE (or allow a student debt relief company to set one up for you). If the debt relief companies were really working for the Department of Education, they would already have access to your loan information without you having to provide this to them. Giving access to the personal information contained within your FSA ID can leave you vulnerable to identity theft and further scams.
- Similarly, NEVER provide your Social Security Number, bank account numbers, or any other sensitive personal information via the phone or online to unknown entities.
- If a company requires a monthly fee or up-front payment, assures quick loan relief, promises the majority of your loan can be forgiven, or says that the offer is “limited-time-only,” hang up or don’t respond.
- Call EWC’s Financial Aid Office before responding to any student loan debt relief offers.
If you have questions about the legitimacy of a contact you have received from a student loan relief company or on how to find your federal loan servicer contact info, please call EWC’s Financial Aid Office first: 307.532.8224 or 1.866.327.8996 ext. 8224. For more information about avoiding loan scams, as well as suggestions for what to do if you already shared your information with one of these companies, please go to the Federal Student Aid Avoiding Loan Scams webpage.