The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) announced that it’s sending more than $273,500 in refunds to consumers who fell victim to a student debt relief scheme.
The scammers, who operated under the business name Manhattan Beach Venture, charged consumers upfront fees of up to $1,400 and tricked them into believing that the payment would go towards permanently lowering or eliminating their student loan payments.
Consumers were then signed up to finance the fee through a high-interest loan with third-party financier Equitable Acceptance Corporation, which the FTC said is another defendant in its action.
Persuasive sales pitch
The FTC said the bad actors used a “persuasive” sales pitch, telling consumers they qualified for a federal program that would allow their student loans to be either fully or partially forgiven and that they could get a permanent reduction in their monthly payments.