Beware scammers taking advantage of students seeking loan forgiveness

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Some students of the now-defunct Corinthian Colleges, which included Heald College in Honolulu, have been trying to figure out how to repay their student loans.

In April 2015, Corinthian Colleges shut down its campuses after the federal government found that the company had lied about its job placement and graduation rates.

An agreement was later reached with the federal government to forgive loans that students had taken out, but that also opened the door for scammers.

“There are scammers out there that are pretending to be debt settlement experts or people that will help get you loan forgiveness,” said Better Business Bureau Hawaii CEO Greg Dunn. “They’re asking these students to now pay another fee to them upfront in order to get the Heald College student loan debt forgiven.”

That’s when the scammer disappears with the money, sometimes thousands of dollars, leaving the victim with yet another financial loss.

Dunn says you should never have to pay a fee upfront, and the only way Heald students can take advantage of loan forgiveness is through the U.S. Department of Education.

“All a scammer would have to do is look for those student groups on Facebook or via Twitter to find the people’s names and information and cross-check and find out their address, their phone number and their email address to solicit them to participate in a scam,” he said.

Dunn says there have been students on the mainland who have fallen victim to the scam, but so far no cases have been reported here in Hawaii.

If you have a consumer concern or are interested in becoming an Action Line volunteer, give us a call at 591-0222 weekdays between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. or send an email to actionline@khon2.com.

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