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Some tips to avoid student loan relief scams

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SEATTLE -- If you have an outstanding student loan, you're a prime target for potentially devastating loan forgiveness schemes.

"Oh, there are some out there that are clearly bold face scams out there," warns Bruce McClary, with the National Foundation for Credit Counseling. NFCC is a network of accredited, non-profit credit counseling agencies across the country.

"We've seen situations where people have gone to some of these student loan relief companies and they've paid up- front, and they've paid for the services that they did not receive."

According to the Federal Trade Commission, here are some of the red flags that you're dealing with a student loan relief scam:

Up-front fees (which are illegal), monthly fees, guaranteed loan forgiveness (there's no such thing), instant debt relief (again, no such thing), and pressure to sign up for a student loan relief plan.

"The best advice, really the only advice is to reach out - look at the Department of Education website," urged McClary.

The U.S. Department of Education website has everything you need to know about how or 'if' your student loans can be deferred or forgiven.

It also warns about companies that claim to help, but only take your money.

If you're not sure about your options, McClary says always ask a 'non-profit' credit counselor for guidance.

"But reaching out to a for-profit company that's offering to magically forgive your student loan debt- I think you're just asking for trouble," McClary said.

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