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Scams take advantage of students with high loans

Debt comes in many forms, but some of the heaviest debts in the nation are from school loans. Student loans are often high, some growing into the hundreds of thousands of dollars. Students struggling to pay them back may jump at the idea of loan forgiveness, but there are dangerous scams out there that could lead to more financial trouble.

Maybe you received a phone call stating that you qualified for a student loan forgiveness program or received a letter that looked like it was from the government in the mail. Whatever you received, it's a good idea to run a check on the person who sent it. The Better Business Bureau (BBB) has warned that there are many scams that could take advantage of you.

One thing to look out for is a request for funds up front. If the company is demanding funds without taking actions to reduce your obligations, the likelihood is that it's a scam. The law requires companies performing debt reductions or consolidations to renegotiate the debt, reduce the debt or settle the debt before a fee can be collected from the individual who purchased the service. Asking for funds up front is a violation of that law.

If you do want to reduce your student loans or consolidate the debt, there are official ways to do so, like by going through www.studentloans.gov, the official government website. Your attorney can help you find the right company to work with or assist you if you've been the victim of a scam. Reducing debt can be difficult, but making the right choices now can help you in the long term.

Source: Herald-Dispatch, "Beware of student loan forgiveness offers," May 08, 2017

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