BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) – Better Business Bureau officials are sounding the alarm as people have started getting phone calls from businesses and individuals saying they can help clear their loan debt student. Laurie Mercier says she received one of these calls out of the blue. The person on the other end of the line offered what they considered a lifeline.
“They were very persuasive,” Mercier said.
Mercier says whoever called her was offering her an offer too good to refuse. It was a chance to eliminate her husband’s student loans through the Student Loan Forgiveness Program, but she tells 9News investigators something about the offer just felt wrong.
“They wanted me to pay them like a $500 deposit,” Mercier said. “It was like a good faith deposit and I’m like if it’s a pardon and you’re trying to eliminate money, why is it costing me so much money?”
Mercier could not get rid of this issue and told the caller she should discuss it with her husband. That’s when she says things got interesting.
Scottie Hunter of WAFB asked her how many times she had been called.
“Oh my God. They were calling every day,” Mercier said. With each call, Mercier says the pressure was mounting.
“They were trying to roll over and negotiate just to make sure they had the money and I’m like no. The more you pressure me to want my money the more I get the red flag that something do not go.
“It’s that feeling that Carmen Million of the Better Business Bureau says has saved Mercier a lot of money. Million thinks those who hope to separate people from their money are choosing the perfect time to strike.
“Now is the time to start targeting people,” Million said.
The loan forgiveness is real. President Joe Biden has even pushed for ways to erase that debt for many. The idea naturally made headlines and many may have seen it in the news. Million says that makes calls like the one Mercier received even more legitimate.
“People automatically associate it with something they’ve seen in the news that’s legit, but you can’t assume anything,” Million warned. “You need to investigate.
“Million says one thing that complicates the review is the fact that these callers can trick the phone system into hiding their number on the caller ID. She warns that they can make her say whatever they want. when they call, making it easier for them to target people.
“People shouldn’t trust caller ID because even if it looks legit and even if it looks legit and you get a call, you have to question it,” Million added.
Although Mercier hasn’t given away his money, experts at the Better Business Bureau warn that not everyone has the same luck.
“It’s an expensive lesson, but it should teach you to investigate before you get involved,” Million added. Due to FCC rules, WAFB was unable to play a copy of any of these voicemails, but anyone interested in what to look for can listen to the recording here.
Experts warn of student loan forgiveness scam
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