With colleges starting, state reminds families to watch out for scams
FRANKFORT, Ky. (WTVQ) – Attorney General Daniel Cameron and the Kentucky Higher Education Assistance Authority joined forces today to alert Kentucky consumers about an identity theft scam involving student loan and financial aid applications.
The Attorney General’s Office and KHEAA have seen an uptick in scammers attempting to apply for student loans and financial aid using fraudulently obtained personal information, including names, addresses, and social security numbers.
The scammer may attempt to obtain education loan funds and then spend the funds on other purposes.
Loan identity theft scams can damage your credit history and potentially make a consumer liable for repaying the loan. Fortunately, no fraudulent student loans have been disbursed directly to scammers through KHEAA.
There are numerous controls in place with KHEAA and its vendors and school partners to ensure no scammer is able to secure fraudulent funds.
Immediately upon identification of attempted fraudulent activity regarding a consumer’s personal information, KHEAA halts the application process and begins the process to remove the invalid entry from the consumer’s credit report.
“As technology evolves, it’s becoming easier for scammers to carry out identity theft schemes and profit from the personal information of others, and student loan scams are frequently used to perpetrate this type of fraud,” said Cameron. “We urge consumers to closely and regularly monitor their credit reports, and report suspected identity theft involving student loans to our office immediately at ag.ky.gov/scams and to the KHEAA.”
“We are pleased to be working with the Attorney General’s office and to prevent any loan from being issued as a result of identity theft. KHEAA places the highest value on protecting the accuracy and validity of a consumer’s credit information,” noted KHEAA Executive Director Eugene Hutchins.
Those who think they are the victim of identity theft should follow these tips:
- Act quickly. Recovery from identity theft is usually easier if you take action as soon as you learn that you are a victim.
- Report it. Report suspected identity theft to the Attorney General’s office at ag.ky.gov/scams and to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) at www.identitytheft.gov.
- Stop the loan application. If you believe a scammer used your personal information to apply for a student loan through KHEAA, report it by calling 800–988–6333 or emailing AdvantageLoans@kheslc.com.
- Monitor your credit. Place a free fraud alert on your credit report by contacting the major credit reporting agencies (Experian, TransUnion, and Equifax), and review your credit report carefully. You are entitled to a free report from each major credit reporting agency each year, which you can access by visiting annualcreditreport.com. As a result of increased fraud during the COVID pandemic, consumers are currently entitled to a free weekly credit report.
The FTC maintains an identity theft website with additional resources for victims of identity theft.