FRANKFURT, Ky. – Attorney General Daniel Cameron and the Kentucky Higher Education Assistance Authority (KHEAA) joined forces Monday to alert Kentucky consumers to an identity theft scam involving student loan and financial aid applications.
The Attorney General’s Office and KHEAA have seen an increase in the number of 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 student loan funds and then spend the funds for other purposes. Loan identity theft scams can damage your credit history and potentially make a consumer liable for loan repayment. Luckily, no fraudulent student loans have been disbursed directly to scammers through KHEAA. There are numerous checks in place with KHEAA and its suppliers and school partners to ensure that no scammer is able to secure fraudulent funds. Immediately upon identification of attempted fraudulent activity involving a consumer’s personal information, KHEAA halts the application process and begins the process of removing the invalid entry from the consumer’s credit report.
“As technology evolves, it is increasingly easy for scammers to carry out identity theft schemes and take advantage of others’ personal information, and student loan scams are frequently used to perpetrate this type of fraud,” Cameron said. “We urge consumers to monitor their credit reports closely and regularly and to report any suspected identity theft involving student loans to our office immediately. ag.ky.gov/scams and KHEAA.
“We are pleased to work with the Attorney General’s office and prevent any loans from being issued as a result of identity theft. KHEAA places the utmost importance in protecting the accuracy and validity of a consumer’s credit information,” said Eugene Hutchins, Executive Director of KHEAA.
If you think you may be a victim of identity theft, the Attorney General’s Office and KHEAA recommend following these tips:
- act quickly. Recovering from identity theft is usually easier if you act as soon as you learn you are a victim.
- report it. Report the suspected identity theft to the Attorney General’s Office at ag.ky.gov/scams and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) at www.identitytheft.gov.
- Stop the loan request. If you believe a scammer has used your personal information to apply for a student loan through KHEAA, report it by calling 800-988-6333 or emailing AdvantageLoans@kheslc.com.
- Watch your credit. Place a free fraud alert on your credit report by contacting major credit reporting agencies (Experian, TransUnion and Equifax) and review your credit report carefully. You are entitled to one free report from every major credit reporting agency each year, which you can access by visiting annualcreditreport.com. Due to the increase in fraud during the COVID pandemic, consumers are currently entitled to a free weekly credit report.