FRANKFORT, Ky. – Attorney General Daniel Cameron and the Kentucky Higher Education Assistance Authority (KHEAA) joined forces today to alert Kentucky consumers to an identity theft scam involving student loan applications and financial aid.
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 becomes easier for scammers to carry out identity theft schemes and take advantage of other people’s personal information, and student loan scams are frequently used to perpetrate this type. of fraud,” Attorney General Cameron said. “We urge consumers to closely and regularly monitor their credit reports and immediately report any suspected identity theft involving student loans to our office at ag.ky.gov/scams and to 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 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 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 each year from each major credit reporting agency, 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.
The FTC maintains an identity theft website with additional resources for victims of identity theft. You can also visit ag.ky.gov/identity-theft for more information.