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Arkansas AG warns: Beware student loan debt relief scams

When a person is in a state of high anxiety it's likely the worst time to be making important decisions. This may be particularly important when the issue of concern is how to find debt relief in the face of financial burdens that now seem overwhelming.

A lot of families with young college graduates are probably wrestling with this issue right now because of the load of student loans that have been accumulated. At the time they were taken out, the thinking likely was that there was no other way to meet the cost of getting that all-important college degree. Now, with graduation looming, anxiety may be mounting about how to meet the demands of discharging debt

The first impulse might be to reach for the first apparent life preserver that gets thrown your way. But a better idea, as was recently reinforced by the Arkansas attorney general, would be to get a solid education about all options that may be available.

Seeking protection through the process of bankruptcy may be one course to consider. Checking with an attorney can help in making such a decision. What the attorney general says consumers shouldn't do is fall victim to student loan scammers.

Attorney General Dustin McDaniels noted recently that Arkansas agencies have seen a spike in complaints from consumers about for-profit companies making claims that they can help borrowers consolidate or defer their student loan obligations.

McDaniels says what these offers tend not to state is that the companies likely can't deliver on everything they promise. Further, the fee they charge may be hundreds of dollars and  the information that may be provided on relief programs often can be obtained for free just by contacting state of federal agencies.

The key lesson behind the warning seems to be, look before you leap.

Source: KSPR-TV, "Arkansas AG warns of student loan scams," April 17, 2014

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