Great news for student borrowers everywhere: the White House has announced a plan for student loan relief. There are currently 45 million borrowers in the U.S. with debt totaling over $1.6 trillion. Many borrowers are rejoicing at this news, and unfortunately, so are cybercriminals who see a new opportunity to exploit consumers. The Federal Trade Commission previously issued a warning about student loan scams because of the uptick in loan forgiveness scams during the pandemic and moratorium on payments.
Now that a student loan relief program has arrived, Lookout, the leader in delivering integrated Security, Privacy, and Identity Theft Protection solutions, has provided proactive safety steps borrowers can take to protect their identity, data, and bank accounts in anticipation of student loan forgiveness scams.
>> Check the “sent from” email address
Real loan servicers will send emails from their own domain. One easy way to check for authenticity is to make sure a company email isn’t coming from an address ending in “@gmail.com” or “@yahoo.com”.
>> Go directly to the source
If you receive a phone call or email requiring action from you, usually involving private information like a social security number, birthday, bank information, or more, immediately go directly to the validated website of the company or organization the message is reportedly from to locate a valid phone number or email to contact. When in doubt, go directly to the official loan forgiveness website: www.studentaid.gov.
>> Beware of urgency
Be wary of urgent demand via phone calls or emails that require immediate action and divulgence of personal information. “Emergencies” can sometimes cause people to act without fully understanding the request or the implications of them, which make them a common tool for cybercriminals.
>> Install security software on your devices
Security protection, like Lookout, will automatically monitor and identify scam URLs in email, text messages, and on the web and block you from threats that can do harm. The security software will also track if your information is compromised in a data breach.
If you would like to learn more about student loan scams or how borrowers can protect themselves in online spaces, I would love to connect you with Hank Schless, Senior Manager of Security Solutions at Lookout.