Student Alerts

Student Alerts

Student Alert: Beware of Student Debt Relief Scams and Fraudulent Lawsuit Solicitations!

The Internet can be a useful resource for exploring options for making your student loan debt more manageable. However, distinguishing between legitimate opportunities and fraudulent traps can be challenging for even the savviest consumer. We at Porter and Chester Institute (PCI) want to ensure that our students do not fall victim to the multitude of scams advertised on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and elsewhere on the Internet. Therefore, we have compiled important tips and resources to equip you with the knowledge necessary to avoid falling prey to one of these scams.

Watch Out for Fees: Applying for loan consolidation, Income Based Repayment and other forms of loan assistance does not cost anything when done through the U.S. Department of Education or through most loan servicers. There are scam companies that will promise to help reduce, consolidate, or even eradicate student loan debt for exorbitant fees; in some cases, what they promise is completely false, in other cases, they are offering a service that you can do yourself for free. Companies that charge advance fees, application fees, monthly service fees or pre-evaluation fees for their debt relief services are generally not legitimate. Do not be a victim! Before paying for any debt relief service, contact PCI’s loan management department at 860-218-2140, or contact your lender or loan servicer directly, to determine what options are available to you, for free. We have provided a list of resources below to help you find answers.

Make Sure to Investigate the Company: Scammers primarily use advertisements on social media platforms and online search engines to lure unsuspecting loan borrowers. Some scam companies appear “official” at first glance because they display logos, names or seals that imply an affiliation with the federal government or a certifying entity when in fact, no such affiliation exists. Red flags include a lack of third-party online reviews; a lack of facts about the company, including information about its physical office locations or its executives; the use of unattributed quotes in advertisements; and limited company contact disclosures.

Always Protect Your Private Information: Scam artists may request private information, such as your social security number, bank account or credit card information, or your FSA ID, under the guise of helping to assess your eligibility for their debt relief program. Always use caution before providing personal information, especially over the Internet! You will run the risk of becoming an identity theft victim if you convey your personal information to shady companies.

Don’t Be Fooled By Illegitimate Law Firm Solicitations: We have noticed a recent influx of websites targeting students and alumni with lawsuit solicitation scams. The scam artists, without indicating a lawyer or a law firm, circulate advertisements that falsely allege school misconduct. The ads claim potential eligibility to join a class action lawsuit that can result in monetary damages or loan discharges. Here’s the catch: there is no lawsuit! The scammers merely want to obtain your personally identifiable information and rack up fees for non-existent litigation. They often sell your information to the same loan debt scammers that are described above, and soon you are being inundated with phone calls and emails trying to sell you services you don’t need.

The best way to avoid falling victim to debt relief scams is to stay informed. We have included a list of resources below to help you stay apprised of safe, reliable options.

General Information

Reporting Scammers