How to avoid student loan debt relief scams

The FTC is warning of a group accused of falsely claiming to help reduce student loans

The FTC is warning of a group that’s accused of falsely claiming to help reduce student loans.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The average student loan debt in Florida is nearly $35,000, according to a study by, so most would agree that no one wants to pay more than they have to.

The Federal Trade Commission is warning of a financial aid group that the agency says claimed to help reduce and wipe out federal student loan debt but required an illegal upfront fee for its services.

The FTC alleges that Arete Financial Group charged borrowers as much as $1,800 in fees that never should have existed in the first place.

The FTC says you should never pay an upfront fee for help when paying off student loans. Borrowers can apply for loan deferments, forbearance, repayment and forgiveness directly through the U.S. Department of Education or their loan servicer for free.

According to the FTC, only scammers promise fast loan forgiveness and, usually, they will pretend to be affiliated with the government.

Additionally, the FTC says, you should not share your Federal Student Aid ID with anyone.

If you or someone you know has used the Arete Financial Group, you or that person should file a claim with the FTC. Click here to do so.

The Federal Trade Commission provides tips to help consumers avoid falling victim to student loan debt relief scams. (Federal Trade Commission)