Almost 40 million Americans carry student debt that hovers at more than $1 trillion.
The pressure of that massive debt makes borrowers easy prey for scammers. But one state is fighting back.
On Monday, Illinois’ attorney general filed the first lawsuits in the country against accused student loan scammers.
The suits name First American Tax Defense and Broad Sword Student Advantage.
According to the attorney general, these companies promised to help cut or eliminate student loan debt for huge fees.
The problem? The services were either bogus, or ones you can get through the government for free.
The disconnect lies in education. The public is often not informed about their options.
But the Illinois AG Office insists you should never pay for information about repaying your loans.
There are plenty of legitimate places to get information for free, including the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, National Consumer Law center, and the Department of Education.
Do some homework on your repayment options there, then contact your loan servicer to discuss how to put them into action.
The bottom line? Be careful and be skeptical, especially if you’re asked to pay up front.