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FTC warns of scammers taking aim at new student loan forgiveness

The Better Business Bureau warns a large target will be on people looking for eligibility information.

INDIANAPOLIS — We've all gotten them.

Unwanted calls and texts, unsolicited emails and fake websites coming from scammers trying to steal your hard-earned cash. And it's those same tactics scammers are likely to try next, to bait new victims trying to access the new student loan forgiveness program

"Scammers will promise fast forgiveness whether it is additional benefits, faster benefits. Erasing your student debt. All of those are empty promises that will lead to an empty pocketbook," said Kristen Johnson, the director of communications with the Better Business Bureau.

That's why the Federal Trade Commission issued a warning about potential scams claiming to offer debt forgiveness for borrowers. The BBB said a large target will be on people looking for eligibility information.

"It's important to know that the government is not allowed to call you about your student loan unless you've given permission," Johnson said. 

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So how can you protect yourself? The BBB is offering these tips. 

The BBB said it's important to remember these government programs are free to sign up for, anyone trying to help for a fee could be a scam artist.

They recommend knowing your loan, especially the terms. That will help you to better keep an eye out for red flags, like a scammer promising benefits the government or your loan provider hasn't already offered. 

Do your research. Look up the company or the lender that's contacting you to ensure it's not a scammer on the other end of the line.

And make sure you check the link before you click, some imposters will build out websites that look like the government's, so take a good look at the URL on the screen.

 "First of all, it should say 'HTTPS' — that means it's a secure site. You should also see a lock sign on the end of that URL. You need to look very closely at what is in the domain name. They will change it by one or two letters," Johnson said. 

Also, make sure you protect your private data. Never give out your federal student aid ID, social security number or any other personal information.

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