Borrowing is often a fact of life for today’s students. Astronomic increases in higher education costs make loans a key resource for getting the education you need — but they also come with debt that’s important to pay off wisely. One of the biggest obstacles to effective credit risk management is often the idea of taking shortcuts. It leads to a vulnerability that scammers seek to exploit for a profit. These unscrupulous parties present themselves as “debt relief” experts, often featuring offers to consolidate or eliminate what you owe. But when something seems too good to be true, it usually is. There are legitimate ways to use outside help as part of your credit risk management strategy, but watch out for the following warning signs: Big Promises — No debt goes away overnight. Anyone promising to massively lower payments or eliminate them deserves scrutiny, and always look into any organization that contacts you. Big Claims — Many scammers claim to work with or for government organizations and national lenders to give victims false confidence. You can always call any organization like this to ask about the representative you spoke to and confirm any details you were given. Big Fees — Some pseudo-scammers get away with debt reorganization schemes that are technically legal. They promise lower payments in exchange for up-front fees, but all they do is spread out the time you end up paying, often costing you more in the long run. Always be skeptical of any offer that wants money up-front and comes with a lot of fine print.