Approximately 60% of more than 6,300 student loan borrowers surveyed said they have seen scams for advertisements promising relief from their student loan payments. Nearly 45% of the respondents said at least one of these companies reached out to them directly, according to the survey conducted by the personal finance site NerdWallet, and student loan advocacy group, Student Debt Crisis.
These predatory companies offer to help borrowers with their student loan payments for a fee, but typically provide services borrowers can access from the government for free- or sometimes they provide nothing at all. The more than 40 million student loan borrowers with $1.3 trillion in student loan debt has become a vulnerable part of the population.
In response to borrowers’ struggles, the Obama administration has gone to great lengths to expand the assistance programs borrowers can use to manage their debt. But scammers have used these programs as an opportunity to lure borrowers, advertising their services with government logos and phrases like “Obama student loan help.”
About 9% of the survey respondents said they paid for student debt relief services, spending an average of $613. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has taken legal action, accusing various student loan debt relief companies of deceiving borrowers into paying for services they can get for free from the government and keeping borrowers on the hook for a repeating charge illegally.
Consumer advocates say the prevalence of these student loan debt relief scams is reminiscent of the mortgage crisis, where servicers failed to provide homeowners with necessary information and scammers targeted a vulnerable portion of the population.
The Department of Education is taking action and working on revamping the student loan servicing system, giving servicers more of an incentive to work with borrowers, and repay their loans through one government-branded portal. By fixing the current system, borrowers will not be as tempted to turn to these predatory companies.
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For borrowers who are struggling with student loan debt, relief options are available. Many student loan borrowers are unaware that they have rights and repayment options available to them, such as postponement of loan payments, reduction of payments or even a complete discharge of the debt. It is important you contact an experienced Miami bankruptcy attorney who can advise you of all your options. As an experienced CPA as well as a proven bankruptcy lawyer, Timothy Kingcade knows how to help clients take full advantage of the bankruptcy laws to protect their assets and get successful results. Since 1996 Kingcade & Garcia, P.A. has been helping people from all walks of life build a better tomorrow. Our attorneys help thousands of people every year take advantage of their rights under bankruptcy protection to restart, rebuild and recover. The day you hire our firm, we will contact your creditors to stop the harassment. You can also find useful consumer information on the Kingcade & Garcia website at www.miamibankruptcy.com.