CHICAGO — The Illinois Attorney General’s office the number of education funding complaints by consumers continued to increase in 2016, landing such complaints a top ranking on the Attorney General's annual list of top consumer complaints in 2016.
Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan said education funding issues such as student loans were increasingly common among the more than 20,000 complaints made to her office last year..
"My office continues to see an increase in education complaints, including loan servicers that don't provide accurate assistance and for-profit schools that provide worthless degrees," Madigan said. "I remain committed to seeking relief for students and holding schools and loan servicers that commit fraud accountable."
Overall, education funding complaints placed sixth on the list of Top 10 complaint categories. The Top 5 on the list included consumer debt, identity theft, promotions/schemes, construction/home improvement and telecommunications.
Steve Bernas, president and CEO of the Better Business Bureau (BBB) in Chicago, said customers should do research before doing business.
“Consumers should always check with the Better Business Bureau and other sources," Bernas said. "We also recommend that consumers put the company’s name in the search engine Google and put the word 'scam' next to it and see what comes up.”
Bernas said scams were often reported to the BBB, as well as the Attorney General. He advised customers to watch out for any situation that requires them to advance money or cash a check from a person or business they don’t know.
“It will clear in three days for the bank, but the bank still has many more days to determine if the check is counterfeit or not," Bernas said. "So, the bank could come back to you 30 days later and say you just deposited a fake check in your account. We’re taking that money back out and we are going to penalize you for it.”
He advised consumers to use credit cards when making purchases because they offer better protections.