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No, student loan fraud relief shouldn't cost you money

When you're in debt, any sign of freedom is one you grasp with both hands. Unfortunately, that can lead many people to fall victim to scams. There are many so-called debt-relief companies that do not help you and actually push you further into debt.

Some of these companies charge you for debt-relief options you'd have open to you free of charge. For example, some debt-relief scams suggest that they can help you eliminate debt from fraudulent schools. They charge for these services. In reality, you can obtain these same relief options without paying a penny.

If you are a victim of student loan fraud, you are able to obtain help through an application with the Department of Education. For instance, if a school closes when you're only partially through your degree, it may offer you options to continue elsewhere. However, the school violates its contract to you by closing mid-semester or before your contract is completed. That could give you the option to have the loans discharged for fraud.

Services can ask you to sign up and pay for help with applying for loan forgiveness, but if they begin to ask you for your federal student ID pin or other identifying information, it's important not to continue. Real debt-relief companies are aware that they can't ask for that information, so if a company does, it's a good sign that it's up to no good.

If you're a victim of fraud or you want to pursue a debt-relief option that doesn't cost more than it's worth, your attorney can help you look into the appropriate options.

Source: US News, "Don't Fall Victim to Debt-Relief Companies," Betsy Mayotte, July 19, 2017

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