Fraudsters have been out in force throughout the pandemic, and now they’re apparently preying on Bay Area residents hoping to finally get out from under their looming student loan debt.
The FBI’s San Francisco bureau issued a warning Friday that scammers are targeting people after President Biden’s student loan forgiveness plan was announced in August. The scams vary, but they often entail crooks soliciting personal and financial information through websites, emails, texts and calls.
“Scammers will jump at every opportunity to defraud a new pool of potential victims,” said Special Agent in Charge Robert K. Tripp. “The FBI is providing information to the public now to help people recognize the warning signs of potentially fraudulent activity related to the forgiveness of federal student loans. Don’t let a scammer trick you into revealing personally identifiable information or providing any type of payment.”
The federal government does not charge processing fees or require any payments for people to wipe out their federal student loans.
The warning came a day after a relatively stunning decision from a federal judge in Missouri and conservative Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett rejected challenges to the loan forgiveness plan, which is expected to wipe out hundreds of billions of dollars in debt.
Biden’s program—officially called the Student Loan Debt Relief Plan—affects individuals who make less than $125,000 a year, or joint filers with incomes below $250,000. Up to $20,000 of debt cancellation is available to Pell Grant recipients, and up to $10,000 is offered to non-Pell Grant recipients. For more information, visit studentaid.gov.
Below are additional warnings and tips from the FBI in San Francisco: