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Hand reaches out to grab a stack of cash inside a bear trap. The bear trap is on top of a graduate cap signifying student loans scams
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Looking for some relief from your student debt burden before federal payments resume in 2022? Make sure to do your due diligence, or you may wind up on the receiving end of a student loan scam.

Consumer protection agencies in multiple states have warned residents in recent months to be on the lookout amid rising reports of student loan scams. With daily news headlines focusing on the status and future of federal student loans — including recent announcements that hundreds of thousands of borrowers will have their debts wiped out — don't feel alone if you're confused as to whether what you're hearing when you're offered help with your loans is legitimate.

Back in August, the U.S. Department of Education announced that more than 323,000 borrowers were eligible for loan forgiveness through the total and permanent disability (TPD) discharge. With the help of data matching from the Social Security Administration, those borrowers are receiving $5.8 billion in automatic student loan discharges.

Additionally, the Biden Administration has upheld a campaign promise of simplifying and streamlining the Public Student Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) program — at least, temporarily. In October, the Education Department announced changes to help more than 550,000 borrowers working in the public sector automatically qualify for forgiveness more quickly by expanding what counts as an eligible payment.

Most recently, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki confirmed last week that federal student loan repayments, which have been paused since March 2020, will resume in February. As the end of the pandemic-era forbearance period nears, millions of borrowers may be hearing from their student loan servicers for the first time in many months.

Add in a plethora of (so far) unfulfilled promises from politicians regarding widespread student loan forgiveness, and there’s bound to be heightened levels of confusion and panic among borrowers. That creates “a perfect storm” for student loan scammers to strike, according to Walter Suskind, deputy communications director for the Student Borrower Protection Center.