If you spend any time on facebook, odds are that you have likely seen these things pop up in your news feed. It is a picture of a bunch of students in line. What you see appears to be part of some breaking news. The little bit of info you read seems to suggest that there is a new federal program, and everybody is doing it. If you don’t act fast, you will miss out.
Click on the link and you will see that this isn’t some news organization bringing you a breaking story. Instead, it is some random company, and they want to help you with your student loans. Also, they want your money.
Having seen a ton of these the last few months, I thought it was time to shed some light on this practice. Here are some things to keep in mind if you find yourself wondering whether or not what you are reading is legit:
- If they want money to sign up up for free federal programs, it is probably best to avoid them. Federal student loan consolidation is free. So is income based repayment. Even student loan forgiveness programs are free. There is no reason to be paying for any of this. It might be a little frustrating but anybody can do it.
- If a company has a misleading advertisement, do you really trust them with your money? Regardless of the service you are interested in, a company that relies upon lies and misinformation should be avoided.
- There is no new program. If the government makes major changes to student loans, it will be national news. Huge student loan forgiveness will not fly under the radar.
- The pictures that they use may not even be related to a news story. The one used in this article is a bunch of students in line to vote. The “news ticker” was made in Word. It took less than 20 minutes to make. Looks can be deceiving.
In the wise words of Mark Twain:
“A lie can travel half way around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes.”
There is a lot of bad information about student loans being passed around. It is time to stop the spread of this bad info and help our friends and loved ones avoid being mislead. If you see one of these ads clearly aimed at confusing or misleading people, leave a comment. Just ignoring it may keep you out of trouble, but speaking up could help many others.