MILWAUKEE — The clock is running out as student loan interest starts again on Sept. 1 and payments will be due starting in October. As you start repaying those loans, you should be aware that criminals are trying to get your money too.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, student loan payments have been on pause, but now that payments are starting back up the state's consumer protection bureau is sending a warning.
"We're trying to be proactive in our messaging to make sure consumers are ready for that repayment and on the watch for these scams," Michelle Reinen said.
Reinen's with the Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection. She said that before COVID, fake student loan payment calls and attempts to get information were rampant.
Now, Reinen said she's expecting it again.
"We do anticipate that some consumers will be fooled by these scammers and may not notice," Reinen explained.
Reinen said it's crucial you're prepared for repayments. To get ready, find out who your loan servicer is. You can find that on your Federal Student Aid account dashboard. Once you're in contact with the loan servicer, update your contact information, that way you get timely updates directly from them. You'll also need to enroll in a repayment plan.
"The best resources are you reaching out to your reliable resources versus waiting for information to be delivered to you," Reinen added.
Reinen said the Department of Education or a loan servicer will never call you. Also, never give out your FSA I.D. log-in information. She said no one should ever ask for this.
"If you share that, the scammer can cut off contact between you and your loan servicer and even work to steal your identity, and we've certainly seen that scam circulate," Reinen said.
Lastly, if you receive a call promising loan or debt forgiveness, it isn't real.
"Even if they say they're affiliated with the Department of Education, don't trust that phone call. No one is going to reach out offering you some special anything," Reinen explained.
Reinen recommends reaching out directly to the U.S. Department of Education if you need help. You can also call the Wisconsin Student Loan Help Hotline at 833-589-0750.
If you think you've dealt with a fake student loan servicer or someone trying to get your personal information, call DATCPat 800-422-7128.