In 2016, the U.S. Department of Education said that more than 300,000 Americans could be eligible for student loan forgiveness due to disability. But that key bit of information is absent from a “breaking news” story featured on ISupportForgiveness.org, which instead directs readers to call a phone number.
So we tried the number out twice. The first time, when asked to identify their company, the person who answered identified them as “EDU Loan Servicing.” There is no apparent listing for a business by that name. The second time, the person answering the phone immediately tried to gather personal information, asking, “Do you have more than $10,000 in student debt?” Upon being informed that it was Snopes.com calling and not someone seeking help with their loans, the person said, “I’m sorry I couldn’t help you,” and hung up.
Not only is “EDU Loan Servicing” not part of the list of federally-approved student loan servicers, but its possible existence is also undermined by the fact that its notice was posted on I Support Forgiveness, which promotes itself as a product review site:
I Support Forgiveness was founded to serve as a consumer watchdog, enabling regular people to make informed decisions about important purchases.
Our panel of independent experts evaluate every product based on a number of factors, including effectiveness, value, and safety. I Support Forgiveness receives no monetary or other consideration from these companies, and the opinions expressed here reflect only our experiences and those of our experts.
To that end, we accept no outside advertising, and every product we review is purchased anonymously. This ensures that each product is a representative sample, and prevents companies from affecting the outcome of our decision.
Our goal is simple: to help you make the best decision possible when purchasing online. To date, we have helped thousands of consumers make smart buying decisions, and we look forward to helping millions more to do the same.
We contacted I Support Forgiveness asking if they were affiliated with “EDU Loan Servicing.” They have yet to respond.
For-profit student debt relief services have also appeared high in search results for terms like “student loan default,” “student loan forgiveness” and “Obama student loan relief,” former CFPB student loan ombudsman Rohit Chopra wrote in a June letter warning Google that some companies may be misrepresenting themselves in online ads.
“While we have warned consumers about these scams, we are concerned that unscrupulous companies may be using aggressive advertising through search products to lure distressed borrowers,” Chopra wrote.
What to do instead: When you’re ready to consolidate your student loans or switch repayment plans, ignore websites that don’t include “.gov” in their URLs, or that don’t belong to one of the government’s official loan servicers.
It’s important to look into any company that may advertise or contact you out of the blue, particularly if they charge for their services. The federal government offers loan repayment advice and assistance for free.