Scammers taking advantage of student loan borrowers, online holiday shoppers
NORTHBROOK -- Nearly one in ten Americans have fallen victim to scams involving federal student debt forgiveness, and two in five of these victims are being contacted at least once a week or more, according to the latest edition of Allstate Identity Protection's "Identity Fraud in Focus" quarterly report.
The findings come as legal battles leave millions of student loan borrowers in limbo. Scammers are exploiting the situation by calling borrowers directly and promising to help get a student loan discharge, forgiveness, cancellation, or debt relief for a fee if the borrower 'acts fast.'
"You don't have to pay anyone to obtain debt relief. The application from the Department of Education is free and you can do it all yourself," says Allstate Identity Protection Restoration Manager Vera Tolmachoff.
The most common form of contact for student loan debt relief scams is by phone. Emails and texts are also popular mediums for scammers to target victims.
This quarter's "Identity Fraud in Focus" report also takes a look at online holiday shopping scams and finds that personal information theft is the costliest type of fraud, with over half of surveyed victims losing up to $249 dollars. The most common type of online holiday shopping scam is when someone sends money for an item, but doesn't receive it.
"Consumers have to be really careful over the holidays," said Allstate Identity Protection Director of Customer Care Brian Stuart. "Watch out for prices that seem impossibly low, make sure to only shop on secure sites, and always embrace a healthy skepticism."
When it comes to online shopping scams, nearly half of U.S. adults are worried about becoming a victim, and roughly a third claim they have been a victim of an online shopping scam in the past.