KIYC: Student loan forgiveness scams
With college tuition skyrocketing each year, Americans now owe a staggering amount of money on student loans: more than $1 trillion.
So it's not a surprise that scammers have come out of the woodwork, claiming they can make student loans go away. Most of the bogus offers come by email, but some are printed out, claiming to be from government agencies.
"Nobody can erase your debt overnight," says Melissa Companick, of the Better Business Bureau. "Student loans take time to accumulate and getting them forgiven is only done under very specific circumstances, and it is not fast, and it is not easy."
Companick says that if you're having trouble making your student loan payments, your best bet is to contact your lender directly. If you have a federal student loan, you can request a deferral.
Also, experts say never give anyone power of attorney, because that means they can literally take money out of your bank accounts. They also warn to never pay money up front.
There are some legitimate student loan forgiveness programs out there. For example, teachers who work in certain school districts can get part of their student loans forgiven after five years of payments. If you work for most government agencies or nonprofits, you can get your loan forgiven, but only after 10 years of payments.
That information is available for free on the department of education website.