Fraud Targeting Student Loan Forgiveness Programs
Feb. 3, 2023
When governments offer any program relating to money or loan forgiveness, it’s to be expected that cybercriminals and fraudsters will try to capitalize on the needs of others. The current discussion in the Biden Administration on student loan forgiveness has become a new way for people to become victims of fraud.
Internet crime is still a booming business, one that occurs in every country in the world, and makes a victim of every type of person. In the news recently, the US Government has been in discussions about providing students with some form of loan forgiveness. Because the policy is still being discussed in Congress, people are unsure of what is and is not a legitimate communication about the topic.
- Entrance into or assistance with any federal student aid program through the Department of Education or their trusted partners never requires payment.
The FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center has many resources to assist with determining whether a communication is authentic or not. Here are some tips to help you navigate those:
- The US government will not charge processing fees, in any type of currency – traditional or cryptocurrencies.
- Do not open links from suspicious email addresses.
- Always verify websites provided via email or text are official US government websites.
- Confirm any information regarding loan repayment with the financial institution or company providing the loan.
- Exercise caution when entering any personally identifiable or financial information on websites.
- Exercise caution when downloading images or files from unknown or unsolicited emails.
- Ensure there are no spelling or grammatical errors on the website or in the email.
Social engineering is a form of cybersecurity attack where scammers use psychological manipulation, deception, and intimidation to get a victim to release information that they would normally keep private. Here are some things to watch for when interacting with solicitations:
- Scammers often use electronic (email, text, website) communication methods to explain how a recipient qualifies for government aid and claim to need information or money from the victim to complete the application process. Do not click on anything you did NOT specifically ask for!
- Websites may solicit financial information such as bank account and routing numbers, credit or debit card numbers. Do not submit information to websites that you are not familiar with.
- Phone scammers may call victims claiming to be representatives of a bank or the Department of Education. This also occurs with scammers claiming to be Law Enforcement Officers. Do not provide information, and validate by calling the company directly if you are unsure.
UA Security Matters is a system-wide effort to increase awareness on cybersecurity topics. For more information, please visit the UA Security Matters website at https://alaska.edu/securitymatters/index.php or email us at email@example.com.