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Illinois sues 5 companies for student loan repayment scams

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CHICAGO (AP) – Illinois’ attorney general has filed lawsuits against five companies and is accusing them of scamming people who need to repay student loan debt.

Attorney General Lisa Madigan filed the lawsuits on Monday. Her office says the scammers charge borrowers costly upfront fees with the false promise that their debt will be forgiven or decreased. Madigan also says the scammers will charge for options that are already available to borrowers for free.

Madigan says the companies — based in California, Illinois, Florida, Georgia and Texas — violate an Illinois law that bans charging upfront fees for debt settlement services.

The Illinois attorney general’s office also has a helpline for borrowers with student loans. It’s available at 1-800-455-2456.