HARRISBURG — Earlier this month, Attorney General Josh Shapiro and a coalition of 49 other Attorneys General announced a settlement with Career Education Corporation (CEC), the former operator of Sanford-Brown and Le Cordon Bleu schools. The settlement provides for debt forgiveness of private student loans owed directly to CEC for approximately 12,600 Pennsylvanians, valued at a total of $38.6 Million. Under the agreement, CEC will be contacting eligible students within the next six weeks.
Unfortunately, in the meantime, the Office of Attorney General’s Bureau of Consumer Protection has received numerous complaints from Pennsylvanians indicating they have been approached by likely scam artists who are telling the consumers they have been “specially selected” and may be “eligible” for CEC settlement dollars. These scammers may request social security information and advance payment for services related to the settlement, and may pitch other student loan reduction services. Attorney General Shapiro is warning consumers not to give out information or respond to this scam.
“My Office is committed to protecting Pennsylvanians from unscrupulous business practices and we are pleased our settlement with this for-profit college will return money to consumers and cause this company to change its behavior,” said Attorney General Shapiro. “At the same time, there are scam artists seeking to take advantage of consumers by falsely offering to help them – knowing that people may have read the news about this settlement and are likely to believe their scam is legitimate. I’m warning consumers to be careful with their personal information and contact my Office if they think they are being taken advantage of.”
Here are some tips that will help consumers avoid these scams:
- These entities often portray themselves as a necessary middleman that have experience in obtaining debt relief, however, consumers can seek relief on their own and without having to make any payments to a third party.
- Consumers will not be asked to pay a fee to anyone related to this settlement.
- Consumers should not give away their FSA ID, social security number, or other personal information. Some scammers claim they need your FSA ID to help you, but be fooled and don’t share it with anyone. Dishonest people could use that information to get into your account and take control of your personal information.
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