The average student loan debt hovers right around $40,000. That's a pretty big amount to try to pay down.
For one 3 On Your Side viewer, she got a telemarketing call indicating they could help her eliminate her student debt, but she says don't believe it.
Judy Phillips is a new homeowner and is still busy unloading boxes. But what she really wants to unload is her student loan.
"In total like what I owe is $43,000," Phillips said.
That's how much debt Phillips racked up earning her degree from Grand Canyon University three years ago.
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Hoping to reduce her $169 monthly student loan payment, Phillips took some interest when she received a voicemail.
"I am calling in reference to your federal student loan. I need to discuss your repayment options with new changes that have taken place recently," the voicemail said.
The caller claimed to be from United Students of America and according to Phillips, they went on to say, "they're actually directly with the Department of Education and they're looking for students like me in need of basically a new forgiveness program where's it's even more economical."
According to Phillips, United Students of America said in exchange for paying them $174 a month, she could stop paying her $169 monthly student loan and they would work on forgiving her entire student loan.
Phillips agreed and eventually got paperwork indicating her documents had been forwarded to the U.S. Department of Education. Right around this time, Phillips felt something wasn't quite right.
"These are just companies coming in knowing that you're desperate and they'll do the work for you, for a fee," she said.
3 On Your Side got involved and we found a disclaimer buried in their website.
“This site does not negotiate, adjust or settle debts. All federal student borrowers are able and encouraged to apply for any federal repayment or forgiveness programs through the U.S. Department of Education for free without paying fees to any entity,” the website said.
But Phillips says why was she paying them then?
"I'm very worried about this company," she said.
3 On Your Side tried calling and emailing United Students of America numerous times, but no one ever responded.
In the meantime, Phillip’s bank has put a block on any future payments to United Students of America and she wants to warn others.
"It's been a horrible experience. It's already scary enough with the student loans and the debt ratio but now knowing there's a company that has my information out there. Thankfully the bank is working with me but if it wasn't [sic] for the bank, this company isn't doing anything for me," she said.
For legitimate information on loan forgiveness or loan consolidation, click here.
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