Student borrowers in New York state should be mindful of potential debt relief scams as the federal government moves to provide up to $20,000 in debt forgiveness, Gov. Kathy Hochul on Friday said.
"New Yorkers work hard for every dollar they earn and the student loan forgiveness plan will be critical to helping reduce the pressures of mounting debt," Hochul said. "Unfortunately, unscrupulous individuals and scammers are using this as an opportunity to take advantage of others. Today, we're putting scammers on notice: we will not let you take advantage of hard-working New Yorkers. I urge everyone to remain vigilant and stay informed to stop these bad actors in their tracks."
State officials said borrowers should seek out trusted information at websites with ".gov" addresses. The federal Department of Education has its own webpage answering questions on the issues.
Borrowers should also not trust people or programs that make promises of early or special access or guaranteed eligibility. And borrowers should not give their personal information like student aid IDs or social security numbers to anyone who contacts them. Scams can be reported to the Federal Student Aid website.
"As many New Yorkers struggle to pay back their student loans, scammers are preying upon these borrowers in desperate need of immediate student loan relief," said New York State Secretary of State Robert Rodriguez. "The New York State Division of Consumer Protection is reminding borrowers to only use trusted government websites and to not respond to unsolicited offers to obtain forgiveness, as student loan forgiveness scams have arisen after the recent federal government forgiveness announcement."
Hochul this week approved a measure meant to simplify and expand the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program in New York. The measure expands the definition of full-time employment so more people can access the program.