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Let’s say you can’t make your student loan payment and you’re looking for help. You find a company through an advertisement that says it will help you, but you’re not sure if it’s legit.
Sometimes the company is waving a red flag that is a clear marker of a scam:
It demands money upfront.
It promises immediate relief.
It pressures you to sign up.
Some of the companies may take your money and disappear, and many others may deliver what they promise in exchange for your money. But that’s a scam too: You never have to pay for legit student loan help.
“Regardless of whether they called themselves ‘innovative’ or a ‘tech company,’ if someone is charging you any amount of money to enroll in a federal right or protection or benefit, that is a scam,” says Seth Frotman, executive director of the Student Borrower Protection Center, a Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit also included in our roundup below.
Don’t be misled by an official-sounding name like "Student Advisory Board" or a .org website. Scammers change names frequently and often mimic the names of government agencies or well-established nonprofit advisors.
Your best bet is always to try to consolidate your loans, enroll in a new repayment plan or pursue forgiveness on your own. Your servicer or lender are the best first place to start. If you do need additional help, look for nonprofit groups that never charge a free for advice or assistance.
To help you navigate what’s legit and what’s not in the student loan assistance industry, here’s a roundup of the companies borrowers are searching for. We've identified legitimate companies and organizations with a history of borrower service with no strings attached.