Recently student loan scammers have posed as the Department of Education and called borrowers warning them about forgiveness ending as soon as Donald Trump leaves office.
They leave the following voicemail:
This message is from the Department of Education. In regards to Donald Trump becoming President, all programs for student loan forgiveness will be stopped immediately as soon as he takes office in January. In order for you to qualify, you must apply within the next 24 hours or you will not be able to have your student loan payment reduced. Please contact us at [number removed]. The number again is [number removed]. Once again you must get enrolled within the next 24 hours.
The Red Flags
This one is pretty obviously a scam, but it uses tactics that could be employed by more convincing scam artists, so it is worth looking at in closer detail.
First of all, the idea that you have exactly 24 hours to respond to the Department of Education is ridiculous. Student loan decision making takes time and no program will end on just 24 hours notice.
Additionally, this voicemail clearly preys upon the fears of student loan borrowers. Trump ending loan forgiveness programs or certain payment plans is a nightmare scenario. If you find yourself acting out of fear based upon a voicemail from a total stranger, it is a huge red flag.
The fact that the call is coming directly from the Department of Education is suspect. Student loan repayment plans are handled by federal student loan servicers, not directly through the Department of Education. If you ever get a call from someone you think might be the Department of Education, it is best to verify their credentials before proceeding forward.
Finally, all borrowers should realize that a student loan development of this nature would be very newsworthy. The media may not always understand all the facts when it comes to student loan news, but for any big change in policy, they are normally on top of it. If you ever receive information of this nature, a simple google search can let you know if what you are hearing is legitimate or if it is a lie.
This sort of telemarketing can be very dangerous. Even if 99 out of 100 people see it as a clear scam, the 1 in 100 could be in serious trouble. Whether the scammers our out for a quick buck or trying to get your personal information for a more elaborate threat, the financial implications could be devastating.