Public Employees: Protect yourself from student debt relief scammers

Posted Oct. 25, 2017 by

This month, public employees and other student loan borrowers are being warned by the Federal Trade Commission about Student Debt Relief Scams. Dozens of companies have been sued by the government for scamming student loan borrowers, including public employees, who are paying off or will be paying off student loans. Now the Federal Trade Commission is cracking down on these companies.

Those in public service may be particularly vulnerable since some public employees may be eligible for legitimate government programs that forgive or consolidate their student loans.  

Student debt scammers will often charge borrowers up-front fees under the pretense of helping those with student debt reduce loan payments, lower interest rates or wipe out debt completely. They often say they are affiliated with government-run programs. Companies that call asking for money upfront or that claim on social media to wipe out a borrower’s debt, are scammers, the FTC is warning.

Rather, public employees should visit the federal student aid website to see legitimate ways they can help reduce the amount they pay or have their loan forgiven.

Many public employees, including some OCSEA members, may be eligible for the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) Program, a legitimate, and federally-run program that allows qualifying borrowers to pay on their debt for 120 months and be forgiven for the rest. There are roughly 33 million people eligible for student debt forgiveness and just 550,000 enrolled in the program.

OCSEA members who are looking for ways to pay back their student loans can fill out this form to receive more information from AFSCME about the PSLF and other federal programs.