Cybersecurity Tips: Protect Yourself Against Student Loan Forgiveness Scams

Borrowing and Credit, Security and Fraud

Some people seeking student debt forgiveness may not understand the process or know which sources to trust to see if they qualify. Unfortunately, loan scammers take advantage of those individuals. In doing so, they create fake student loan forgiveness applications to try to collect your personal details. While researching student loan relief programs, here’s what you need to know so you don’t fall victim to a student loan forgiveness scam.

Is Student Loan Forgiveness Real?

Yes, national debt relief is legit. In August 2022, the U.S. Government announced the Student Loan Debt Relief Plan, which provides student loan debt forgiveness to specific U.S. income earners.

However, in November 2022, the courts blocked the Student Loan Debt Relief Plan. So, the U.S. Department of Education is not currently accepting student loan relief applications. If you have already submitted your application, it will be held. New applicants may only apply for student loan forgiveness if the court order is overturned.

Ways to Avoid Student Loan Forgiveness Scams

While there are plenty of legitimate student loan debt relief programs, there are also many loan forgiveness scams. Don’t ignore the warning signs of student loan scams, including any communication that:

  • Pressures you or requires an urgent response
  • Makes unrealistic promises
  • Wants upfront payments
  • Asks for sensitive information

Don’t Pay Fees — Forgiveness Is Free!

The U.S. Government will not charge processing fees in any type of currency, whether that’s traditional or crypto. So, if someone tells you they can get your loan relief approved for a fee, do not give them any personal information or payments.

Guard Your Sensitive Information

Be wary of emails, text messages, and websites that ask for personal information. This sensitive data could be your name, social security number, date of birth, current or previous address, FSA ID password, routing number, and more. Remember that your federal student loan debt relief application doesn’t require initial payment, so there would be no reason to collect your banking or credit card information.

Always Verify Your Sources

Scammers will often use electronic communications like phishing emails, unsolicited messages, or calls about student loan forgiveness. To avoid loan forgiveness scams, ignore those messages, stop scammers from calling, and never open or download attachments from unknown senders.

Updates will only come from these trusted email addresses:

You can often spot malicious sites and online scams through misspelled words, grammatical errors, and the misuse of the Department of Education seal. To confirm you’re speaking with a U.S. Department of Education partner, review the list of contracted federal student loan servicers.

Use Caution When Clicking Links or Ads

In addition to emails and other digital communications, scammers are also using paid ads to engage people who are researching the program. When searching “student loan forgiveness” on Google, almost 12% of ads show potential malicious intent. Despite Google having strict rules for ads, there is still a risk of student loan scams on paid search, so only click on results from trusted websites.

What to Do If You’ve Been Scammed Online

If you’ve been scammed while researching student loan forgiveness, here are a few steps to help you get some control back:

  1. Report the online scam to the FBI Internet Crime Complaint Center as quickly as possible. You’ll also want to submit a complaint to the Department of Education and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
  2. Record your activity and report the fraud website or ads to their platform.
  3. Contact your financial institution immediately to stop or reverse any transactions.
  4. Keep track of your transaction information, including prepaid cards, banking records, and forms of communication.
  5. Monitor your financial accounts and credit reports.

For more cybersecurity tips or information on student loan forgiveness scams, contact our experts today and we’ll help answer any questions you have about the student relief program.

<a href="" target="_self">Liz Malmberg</a>

Liz Malmberg


Liz Malmberg is a senior marketing specialist at Centris Federal Credit Union in Omaha, Neb. As a co-host of the A Penny or Two for Your Thoughts podcast, Liz enjoys creating educational resources for those wanting to expand their financial knowledge and enhance their financial wellness. She received her Bachelor of Journalism from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and has worked in marketing for 20 years. In her free time, Liz enjoys spending time with her husband and daughter and loves to help people live a healthier lifestyles as a certified nutrition coach and a CrossFit Level-1 trainer.

Guest Contributors

Ashley Goodsell

Ashley Goodsell

Ashley Goodsell is a BSA fraud investigator at Centris Federal Credit Union in Omaha, Neb. Ashley has been in her role at Centris for five years and has ten years of law enforcement experience. She received her bachelor’s degree in sociology from the University of Iowa and her Master of Public Administration in law from the University of Phoenix. Ashley has a passion for educating Centris members about fraud and contributes to the Centris Cybersecurity Center. In her free time, Ashley enjoys spending time with her kids at various sporting events, reading crime books and listening to podcasts.

Kim Smith

Kim Smith

Kim Smith is a BSA fraud analyst at Centris Federal Credit Union in Omaha, Neb. In her role, Kim helps educate Centris members about fraud and works to protect them from fraudulent activity. In her 17 years of experience, she has gained an expansive knowledge of the banking ecosystem, specifically focusing on money movement and fraud trends. Kim received her bachelor’s degree in general studies from the University of Nebraska Omaha. In her free time, Kim enjoys spending time with her family, going to musicals and symphonies, and reading.

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