RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — Student loan payments have restarted this month now that the COVID-19 payment pause has ended. That has also created a new round of scammers who are trying to trick you into paying them to help get you student loan forgiveness. 

Nearly 27 million borrowers with federal student loans are facing repayment. 

It’s a reality many are facing like Winston-Salem State University graduate Patrica Sanders. 

I’m trying to figure out how I’m going to get the extra income to pay this loan back right now,” she said. “I don’t still see a way of getting it paid on the due date that they that they’re wanting.”  

It’s estimated there’s student loan debt totaling $1.1 trillion out there and scammers are using concern over repayments to squeeze money and personal information out of you.  

“Scammers will promise a fast student loan, or total student loan forgiveness and all you do is have to pay them a small fee,” said Nick Hill of the Better Business Bureau of the Eastern Carolinas.  

Attorney General Josh Stein is one of several government officials who put out warnings about student loan repayment scams that are targeting North Carolinians.

Here’s how the scams work. They begin by trying to coerce you into giving up personal data 

“Be especially wary if someone is asking you straightforwardly to provide you with something like your Social Security or your bank account numbers,” said Hill. 

Other red flags include:

  • Trusting anyone promising debt relief, even if they say they’re with the Department of Education.
  • People asking for upfront payments. (That’s indicative of a scam.)
  • A person or company offering to manage or process your paperwork.

“Student loans in general require a lot of paperwork and a lot of time,” said Hill. “That’s why you have to be especially aware if somebody is promising that they can get it done fast.” 

The U.S. Department of Education’s Student Aid website allows you to track your paperwork online and offers a way to submit a complaint about a student loan scam.