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Student Loan Debt Scam Stopped by FTC After Consumers Lose Millions

The FTC says the companies would promising lower payments, and then push the loans onto another company.

The Federal Trade Commission filed a temporary restraining order against several customers, alleging they falsely promised student loan debt relief. 

The FTC says Arete Financial Group and several related companies used ads on TV, radio, and online to make it seem it was affiliated with the Department of Education, promising to enroll clients in student loan forgiveness.

The companies would allegedly charge illegal fees upfront, as high as $1,800 dollars. Instead of delivering the benefits they promised, the companies allegedly contacted a loan servicer and placed their client's student loans into what's called temporary forbearance or deferment status. Meaning payments weren't required, but interest was still building.

Student loan scammers usually promise fast loan forgiveness and pretend to be affiliated with the government. The FTC warns against paying an upfront fee and says to never share your federal student aid I-D with anyone.

Consumers can apply for loan deferments, forbearance, repayment, and forgiveness or discharge programs directly through the U.S. Department of Education or their loan servicer at no cost; these programs do not require the assistance of a third-party company or payment of application fees. For federal student loan repayment options, visit StudentAid.gov/repay. For private student loans, contact the loan servicer directly.