Here's the way to spot a student loan fake-out before criminal create a financial nightmare.

Capitalizing on the confusion around student loan debt and potential forgiveness coming out of Washington DC, scammers are targeting American families with offers to consolidate and in some cases entirely forgive loan debt.

Don’t believe it until you do your homework.

The idea of pausing federal student loan payments and erasing borrower balances from colleges and universities is appealing enough to trick financially strapped students into falling for the latest scam.

The scammers are tapping into information including the age of their targets, campus addresses and identifiable social media posts to profile their victims.

Criminal hackers are prying personal information such as social security numbers, federal student aid IDs, bank account details while pitching a student loan consolidation offer that is all too good to be true.

How to spot student loan scams

  • If you get a phone call, email or letter let that raise your first red flag
  • Even though the person on the other end may have familiar student loan details about you, so do hackers
  • Don’t give out your social security number, federal aid id, bank or credit card account numbers
  • Independently verify the source of the student loan assistance
  • Lookup the name of the program being offered to you and contact your school’s finance office to confirm the offer is legit or bogus
  • Special government programs do not require credit card or extra bank payments for loan forgiveness.

More scams to be on the lookout for:

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