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student loan identity theft
Posted on September 15, 2020 by in Children & Families, Identity & Privacy, Personal

Your child has worked so hard in school over the years and the time has finally come — he or she is applying to colleges and preparing to start a new chapter. You’ve tried to set aside some money to help pay for higher education, but you just paid off your own student loans a few years ago, so you won’t be able to pay for more than a year or so of college. Luckily, you’re not worried. You know some financial aid is available, and your child will be able to take out student loans to cover the rest of tuition and board.

However, when the time comes to apply for the loans, you discover a problem — they’re alleging that your son or daughter already has student loans taken out in their name. There’s no way that’s possible, though. At first, you assume it’s just a clerical error, but after a lot of back and forth, it becomes clearer…your child’s identity has been stolen.

How and Why Thieves Commit Student Loan Identity Theft

Victims of student loan identity theft are frequently dumbfounded when they learn how easy it is for criminals to take out loans in another person’s name. If someone has your name, date of birth, address, and Social Security number, they shouldn’t have a problem taking out a student loan.

Why do identity thieves take out fraudulent student loans? Do they want to go to college that badly? In most cases, that’s not their goal. Student loans are just one of many methods they can use to get cold, hard cash. The student loan checks come in to pay off educational expenses, but the thieves just cash the checks and keep the money.

Student Loan Identity Theft Doesn’t Just Affect College-Bound Kids

If a young person has been a victim of child identity theft — and the odds of identity theft are a growing problem — they might not discover it until they go to apply for student loans. Anyone’s identity, however, could be used to take out these types of loans. For an adult that has already gone through school, or never even had student loans in the first place, they could find out when:

  • The government seizes their federal tax return refund for a defaulted student loan.
  • They’re thinking of buying a house and check their credit report to see where they stand. There’s a student loan on there that they didn’t take out, it was never paid, and it’s killing their credit score.
  • Default notices start flooding their mailbox, collectors keep calling, and they have no idea why.

Anyone can be affected by student loan identity theft. And, if it isn’t caught fairly quickly, thieves can cause a great deal of damage that takes a long time to clean up — especially when they decide not to pay the loans. You need to know what to do if your identity is stolen by a student loan scammer or any other identity thief.

There’s no way to completely prevent student loan identity theft, but enlisting the help of an identity protection monitoring service like IdentityForce is an excellent start. We’ll monitor your identity 24/7, and if something looks suspicious, you’ll be alerted immediately. In the event someone takes a fraudulent student loan out in your name, we’ll even work on your behalf to clear everything up and get your credit (and name) back on track.

Protect Yourself and Your Children from Identity Theft

Give it a try today, with a free 30-day trial of the best identity theft protection from IdentityForce. And, if you are concerned about safeguarding your children against child identity theft, IdentityForce offers ChildWatch as an additional service available with any adult IdentityForce membership. For organizations that offer IdentityForce identity protection as a benefit to their employees, ChildWatch is free.

**Originally published September 13, 2016. Updated September 15, 2020.**