Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Scammers Gonna Scam--Beware of Student Debt Relief Scams

Because the housing crisis had to slack up (but is by no means entirely finished), scammers had to move on to the next pool of people in financial trouble.  That would be former students who have racked up a bunch of student loan debt.  It's hard to get out of, and  hard to have discharged in bankruptcy, and those things tend to make people desperate.  So out come the scammers, and Illinois is the first state to legally come after one.

The thing to remember is that you shouldn't pay anybody money up front for this.  And all the information you need is available for free on the internet.  If you need to find your student loan holder, for instance, the National Student Loan Data System can help.  If you're not in default, you can call 800-433-3243 as well.  For loans in default, call the Department of Education’s FSA Collections Office at 800-621-3115 for the information.

A great, one-stop shop to explore your options is the Student Loan Borrower Assistance website set up by the National Consumer Law Center. It has a link to think out your solutions, depending on where you are with your debt (default or not?), or possible solutions.  It has a link with federal, state, and private loan cancellation plans. It has steps to see if you can possibly get it discharged in bankruptcy.  The site is a gem, but also check out the federal government's site on student loans.

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