Got student loan debt? Don’t be scammed.
If you’ve got student loan debt, you’ve probably seen ads or been contacted by companies promising they can help. Some are scams – and the FTC is going after them.
Today the FTC announced Operation Game of Loans, a joint FTC and state law enforcement sweep against student loan debt relief scammers. The operation includes seven actions filed by the FTC, with five new cases announced today.
In the FTC cases, the companies claimed to be affiliated with the government or the consumer’s loan servicer, and promised to reduce or eliminate student loan debt. They told people they were “pre-approved,” “pre-qualified” or “qualified instantly,” then pressured them to sign up for their programs on the spot. Enrolling required consumers to pay illegal advance fees of up to $1,500.
So what did these companies actually do? Usually nothing. Consumers were often left worse off, or received minimal help for services they could have gotten from their loan servicer or the U.S. Department of Education for free.