Student loan scams: Tyler Perry has no college scholarship waiting for you
Entertainment tycoon Tyler Perry has no scholarship sitting on the sidelines while waiting to help you go to college. It doesn’t matter what you might spot on Facebook.
No one who calls you out of the blue also needs your credit card number to keep a stock market in your name.
And really, someone you meet at a party doesn’t have a great way to make a quick buck. Never, ever pass your bank account login details to a stranger who somehow convinces you of a “safe deal.”
As the tuition payment deadline approaches, students might be tempted to fall for quick and shady solutions to fundraising. And many others might be led to think that they have just found a solution to repay their university debts.
As students and their parents search for ways to pay for their education, scammers are devising even more ways to rip them off.
Here are some warning signs of college scholarship and student loan scams.
The student loan scam
Students can hear about an easy way to make money for college through email or social media.
And many times, scammers contact students directly through an acquaintance or at a party that offers a quick way to make money.
The crooks, however, require the student to provide their online banking ID, according to Deidre Davis, marketing manager at Michigan State University Federal Credit Union.
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The idea is for the money to be put directly into the cash register or bank account. The student sees a little more money online and is then asked to pay the fee up front through a Google Play gift card, iTunes gift card, or other gift cards.
The student thinks he has no more money since he saw that the money had been deposited in the account. So they go out and buy the gift cards. Often times, they are asked to read the numbers on gift cards over the phone so that the crooks have quick access to the money.
But the check the fraudster deposited is probably bad. And the money that seemed to be in the account was soon gone. And you also take out whatever you put on the gift cards.
Once scammers gain access to the student’s account, it is possible that they will also have access to their savings.
“In the cases we’ve seen, however, students don’t have a lot of money in the account, so scammers only get the funds they can deposit with bad checks,” Davis said.
Davis said the credit union is seeing a growing number of student members get caught up in this new scam – called account takeover.
It is a terrible gesture. Giving your online bank ID to a stranger is a bit like handing over your car keys to someone who seems friendly and being surprised that they stole your car.
I wrote earlier this year about a similar scam involving debt consolidation loans, an ongoing scam that resulted in losses of $ 500 to $ 1,500 for some consumers who agree to put the money in. on gift cards as the final step in completing a debt consolidation plan.
The US Department of Education notes that you don’t want to give out banking information to just anyone with promising financial aid.
The student loan scam for debt relief
Michigan consumer complained in April that he received a call from someone who told him he was eligible for ‘Obama’s Pardon’ student loan plan, Better Business complaint says Office serving Eastern Michigan.
The consumer gave his Social Security and debit card information to the caller to participate in a plan to reduce his college debt. But later his sister told him he might have fallen for a scam. He called the US Department of Education and was told they had never heard of the outfit.
The consumer had to call their bank to cancel their debit card. He did not report losing any money, possibly because he acted very quickly and never bought gift cards.
Aggressive crooks will use robocalls to harass you thinking they can also eliminate your debt for a fee.
Borrowers should be especially aware of misrepresentation that can lead to scams, said Mark Munzenberger, financial education specialist for the University of Michigan Credit Union.
Beware of claims such as, “Take immediate action to qualify for student loan cancellation before the program is terminated.” “
Or: “Your student loans may be eligible for full discharge. Registrations are made on a first come, first served basis. “
The Federal Trade Commission launched a sweep in late 2017 to tackle student debt relief companies that made false promises and collected $ 95 million in illegal upfront fees. Often the crooks claim to be affiliated with the government.
“Only crooks promise quick loan forgiveness,” the FTC said.
For legitimate federal student loan repayment options, see StudentAid.gov/repay
The FAFSA Fee Scam
The place to submit a free application for Federal Student Aid is www.fafsa.ed.gov – not something with a dot-com ending.
The US Department of Education notes that several websites offer help filling out the free federal student aid application form for a fee.
But these sites are not affiliated with or endorsed by the US Department of Education. And you can also get free help filling out forms, including at a college financial aid office.
You don’t want to pay any money to submit a free app. It is a “Free Application”.
The hacker’s attack in 529 shots
The Connecticut state treasurer announced in June that 21 Connecticut Higher Education Trust college savings accounts had been breached, resulting in 44 unauthorized withdrawals totaling more than $ 1.4 million. Of this amount, approximately $ 440,000 has been recovered or arrested. The incident involved identity theft using personally identifiable information gleaned elsewhere.
TIAA-CREF Tuition Financing Inc. has completely restored the accounts. While families won’t lose money in this case, it’s important to keep an eye on the money in 529 plans in case hackers attempt to access other state plans. Also, be sure to use different usernames and passwords for each online account and change them periodically.
The Michigan Education Savings Program, offered by the State of Michigan, is administered by the TIAA-CREF Tuition Funding Program. No such problem has been reported in Michigan.
As a precaution, however, TIAA-CREF Tuition Financing is implementing stricter security guidelines for the Michigan Savings Plan web portal, said Robin R. Lott, executive director of Michigan Education Trust, Michigan Education. Savings Program and MI 529 Advisor Plan.
The scholarship scam
Atlanta-based filmmaker Perry took to Facebook in July to warn he does not have a scholarship program, even though internet imposters claim otherwise.
“Don’t let anyone tell you I have a scholarship program that you have to pay to participate in, okay?” “
The actor and director went on to say that he personally sent a lot of kids to college. But this is not an official program where people can apply for university help.
“These are freebies, so don’t let these people fool you,” Perry wrote. “Don’t give money to anyone on my behalf. It’s a scam. I hope these people get caught.”
The Perry scam is one of many that tries to get cash-strapped consumers to somehow prepay for a purse.
The Better Business Bureau warns that some scams include “money back guarantees.”
The only guarantee, however, is that you are facing a scam, according to the Better Business Bureau. Don’t fall for phrases like “the purse is guaranteed or your money is paid back”.
Beware of any requests for your social security number, credit card number or bank account number related to a scholarship, said Mark Kantrowitz, editor and vice president of research for Savingforcollege.com .
Identity thieves can use your Social Security number to open credit cards using your name. A scammer can use your credit card to charge for items to be sent elsewhere. Scammers can use your checking account number and information to empty your bank account using a sight draft – and they don’t need a signature on a check, Kantrowitz noted.
Some scholarship scams will just send you a check, but then claim the amount was more than what you earned. And you have to send extra money back – or put that extra money on a prepaid card. Do not do it. The check is a forgery.
Scammers – who might even claim to belong to a financial aid bureau – might say you’ve won a scholarship but need it to pay processing fees or taxes.
“Scholarships for tuition and textbooks are tax exempt,” Kantrowitz said.
Another potential scam is the so-called millions of dollars in unclaimed scholarships.
“While there are a few unclaimed scholarships, they are unclaimed because they cannot be claimed,” Kantrowitz said.
For example, there is a William Zolp Scholarship at Loyola University in Chicago for any Catholic student born with the surname Zolp. A copy of a birth certificate and baptismal or confirmation certificate confirming Zolp’s last name and that the applicant is Catholic must be filed with the Financial Aid Office. The amounts of the scholarships vary.
“Most years they have eligible students, but some years they don’t,” Kantrowitz said.
You can search scholarship information for free at StudentAid.gov/scholarships.
Contact Susan Tompor: [email protected] or 313-222-8876. Follow Susan on Twitter @Tompor.