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MARKETANALYST.US / ECONOMY & WORK

Don't Fall for 'Student-Loan Debt Department' Emails; Here's What You Should Know About the Scam

Did you get an email from the "Student-Loan Debt Department" offering debt relief after the White House mentioned it? Here's why it's not legit.
PUBLISHED APR 14, 2024
Image Source: Mikhail Nilov | Pexels
Image Source: Mikhail Nilov | Pexels

On April 8, the Biden administration talked about helping 30 million students with their debt. They have ideas, but they're not done with the plan yet. A VERIFY journalist got an email saying she could get her debt forgiven based on new rules for 2024. The email went as:

“Hello this is Mason Woods on behalf of the Student-Loan Debt Department. We tried to contact you at your home and did not hear back. Your StudentLoans have been marked as eligible for forgiveness under the new 2024 guidelines. Your case number is #15219, and your file will remain open in my system for only one more day. If you could please give your dedicated eligibility line a call at: (844-681-3875) Thank you so much and we hope to hear from you soon, Mason Woods,” the email read.

Image Source: President Joe Biden delivers remarks on canceling student debt at Culver City Julian Dixon Library| Photo by Mario Tama| Getty Images
Image Source: President Joe Biden delivers remarks on canceling student debt at Culver City Julian Dixon Library| Photo by Mario Tama| Getty Images

The Truth About the 'Student-Loan Debt Department' Email

So, now the question arises 'Is there a legitimate Student-Loan Debt Department email that helps with student debt relief?

There's just one answer, No!

The email, supposedly from the "Student-Loan Debt Department," raises some big warning signs that it's a scam. VERIFY noticed a few things that don't add up, and there are other issues beyond just what's in the email.

First off, the mention of "2024 guidelines" is fishy because those rules aren't set yet. The White House talked about helping with student debt, but the plan isn't final. So, it doesn't make sense to say someone qualifies for forgiveness under rules that aren't real yet. Plus, even if they were real, it's strange to give people only a day to claim it when the plan is still months away. Another weird thing is that a different VERIFY journalist, who doesn't even have a student loan, got a similar email with a case number. The Department of Education knows who has loans and who doesn't, so there's no reason they'd offer loan forgiveness to someone without loans.

Image Source: Student debt relief activists participate in a rally at the U.S. Supreme Court  | Photo by Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images
Image Source: Student debt relief activists participate in a rally at the U.S. Supreme Court | Photo by Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images

But even without all that, there are signs that email is a scam. Let's check them out:

There is no 'Student-Loan Debt Department'

You won't find any official info if you search for "Student-Loan Debt Department" on Google. The U.S. Department of Education doesn't have a "Student-Loan Debt Department." They handle student loans through Federal Student Aid. Some say the "Student-Loan Debt Department" is a scam. Representative Virginia Foxx even wrote about it, saying scammers trick people into paying big fees for loan forgiveness. Plus, the email didn't come from a real address, which is another sign it's fishy.

Fake Email IDs

The emails sent to VERIFY journalists came from masonwoodsdvkj@hotmail.com and charlesagu1ypa@hotmail.com. These addresses aren't linked to the U.S. Department of Education or its student loan services. Federal Student Aid only uses three email addresses for student debt relief communication:

- noreply@studentaid.gov

- noreply@debtrelief.studentaid.gov

- ed.gov@public.govdelivery.com

Fake Mailing Address

The mailing address PO Box 249 #57223, Albuquerque, NM 87103 was the same for both emails.

The problem is that there are no U.S. Department of Education offices in Albuquerque, New Mexico. The department's regional office for New Mexico is located in Dallas, Texas.

Another odd thing is the contact line saying "We are a marketing firm." Marketing firms don't handle student debt relief.

Image Source: Photo by Vlada Karpovich | pexels
Image Source: Photo by Vlada Karpovich | pexels

Typos

According to Federal Student Aid, unusual capitalization, poor language, or rambling phrases may indicate that a scam is underway.

There are two incorrect definitions of "student loans" in the email. Firstly, "student loans" shouldn't have a hyphen in the name "Student-Loan Debt Department." Secondly, they condense the term "student loans" into a single, incorrect word: StudentLoans.

Creating Urgency

Additionally, aggressively worded letters that encourage you to take immediate action are discouraged by Federal Student Aid since they are frequently fraudulent.

The "Student-Loan Debt Department" tells you in an urgent email that your case will be open in their system "for only one more day." There was a sense of urgency to VERIFY journalists in both emails.

You can get your student loans cancelled without having to pay anyone anything. You can discuss your options for loan forgiveness with the Education Department or your loan servicer.

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