Local community colleges warn of student loan forgiveness scam

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A scam claiming to help you pay off your student loans is targeting college students and alumni here in the east.

A post by the page "Salliemaenavient Updates" is circulating on Facebook, mocking a company that services student loans.

The post pretends to offer total student loan forgiveness to alumni at both James Sprunt Community College and Lenoir Community College, as well as dozens of other schools across the country.

The sponsored ad also includes a picture of a "paid in full" notification letter.

If you click the link on the ad, you'll be asked to pay a fee to sign up. It usually costs more than $1,000 and you can bet, that money is falling right into the hands of scammers.

While some student loan forgiveness organizations are legitimate, this one is not. Both colleges have confirmed that they are not affiliated with this organization.

The Federal Student Aid office​ has a list of warning signs to help you identify a student loan scam:

You’re required to pay up-front or monthly fees for help. It is illegal to charge an up-front fee for this type of service before a company actually does anything. Free assistance is available through your federal loan servicer.
You’re promised immediate and total loan forgiveness or cancellation. Most government forgiveness programs require many years of qualifying payments and/ or employment in certain fields before your loans can be forgiven.
You’re asked to provide your FSA ID. The U.S. Education Department and its partners will never ask you for your FSA ID password. Do not give your FSA ID password to anyone or allow anyone to create an FSA ID for you.
The offer is limited and encourages you to act immediately. While there are some deadlines you need to meet in regards to your student loans, like if you’re paying under an income-driven repayment plan that you need to re-certify annually, most programs are limited only by the eligibility requirements.
The post contains spelling and grammatical errors. If you notice unusual capitalization, improper grammar or incomplete sentences in the posts or e-mails, that’s likely a red flag that the company is not affiliated with the Education Department.

If you or someone you know has fallen victim to this scam, contact your federal loan servicer and file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission.