More than 10 million people have applied for student loan forgiveness now that the Biden Administration’s application has gone live, but the Federal Government is warning of scammers.
“[Scammers] are thinking this is the next Nigerian Prince money scam,” said Pete Nicoletti, the chief security officer for Checkpoint, one of the oldest and largest internet security companies in the world. “The scammers have 11 or 12 billion email addresses. Just think about that. It’s timely and it’s preying upon our sense of urgency. Everybody is talking about it. If you’re one of the people that could get back $10,000 or $20,000, that’s a huge deal.”
This is what you need to know about these scams, according to the federal government’s warning:
- The federal government will never ask you to pay for help with your loans
- They will not ask for your passwords
- These are the only email addresses the government will contact you from, should they require more information: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org
If you receive an email from any other source, experts warn you should ignore it and never click on any links they send, no matter how good or promising they might sound.
“Why wouldn’t you want your money expedited,” said Nicoletti. “If you don’t know where to go and an email shows up in your inbox saying here’s where to go, and that’s the first time they’ve heard of it, they’re going to go there.”
As for when to file your application, experts suggest doing it ASAP. A number of legal challenges could put the loan forgiveness in jeopardy, but any borrower that has already gotten forgiveness, which the Department of Education says will come within six weeks of applying, will likely get to keep it, even if the courts block the plan.