Many college graduates today find themselves struggling to repay their student loans. Unfortunately, there are lots of scams out there that entice borrowers with promises of quick and easy loan forgiveness. Consumers need to be very careful when considering options to erase their student loan debt. If something sounds too good to be true, it is probably not legitimate. Here are some common scams to avoid.

student-loansDo not pay any upfront fees to companies that claim they can help negotiate with the lender to either eliminate the debt or get extremely low interest rates. It is most likely these scammers will take your money and run. You will never hear from them again.

Be skeptical of those offering to help put you in touch with some new government programs that offer student loan forgiveness. Some internet ads even claim the programs have been initiated by President Obama or the U.S. Department of Education. Scammers try to hook desperate people into believing that these are legitimate government programs. Consumers should realize that the President doesn’t authorize loan forgiveness. Once again, money may be demanded upfront, or scammers may be phishing for personal information such as social security numbers and banking information.

Consumers should be wary of companies that say they can save people money by consolidating their debts. Never sign over a power of attorney to them. The scam in this case is that they may move the loan to a different lender who charges higher interest rates. While debt consolidation may be a good option for some people, it is not the best choice in all situations.

Borrowers who are struggling to repay their student loans should contact their lender directly. They can also find useful information on the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau website. The National Consumer Law Center’s Student Loan Borrower Assistance Project is another good resource for borrowers.