PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — Millions of Americans have begun making their first student loan payments in more than three years this month.

That’s why scammers are on the prowl, looking for vulnerable borrowers who are seeking student loan forgiveness.

From phone calls to emails to text messages, cybersecurity expert Kevin Ricci said scams come in all shapes and sizes.

Ricci said scammers also have a pulse on what’s trending.

“Scammers really know what the hot topics are,” Ricci said, adding that those “hot topics” are what their schemes are typically based off of.

The U.S. Department of Education provided examples of false claims borrowers might come across:

  • “Act immediately to qualify for student loan forgiveness before the program is discontinued.”
  • “Your student loans may qualify for complete discharge. Enrollments are first come, first served.”
  • “Student alerts: Your student loan is flagged for forgiveness pending verification. Call now!”

Ricci said scammers often use aggressive advertising language to initiate a quick reaction from their potential victims.

“Look for red flags,” he said. “Urgency is typically one … especially if something really doesn’t sit well.”

Scammers often make promises that are too good to be true, such as complete cancellation or instant forgiveness. Most government forgiveness programs have requirements that need to be met before a borrower is even considered, such as years of qualifying payments or employment in a specific field.

“If it’s too good to be true, it probably is,” Ricci said.

In some instances, scammers will ask borrowers for their username and password. Ricci said borrowers should never give out their account information, or any personal information for that matter.