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I may be one of the few out there who is unaware of the following, though clearly my neighbor was as well. This is an anecdote to warn you how easy it can be to wind up owing money to a student loan lender, or being an unintentional co-signer.

My neighbor was telling me that she has been informed that she is responsible for her son's student loan, which he is unable to pay. Not remembering ever signing for a loan, she asked that the lender send her the documentation proving that she cosigned. Indeed, no physical signature, but the "electronic" signature, which consisted of typing her SS# in a particular spot was all the lender required, or so they claim, to show she was agreeing to cosign.

She remembers her son asking for her SS# for the loan app, but was never aware it was to be used in this way. Doubt he was either, and more likely he was just filling in the blanks like even so many adults do. So now if the lender is correct and the simple presence of her SS# makes her co-signer, she can't tell the lender she did not co-sign or her son will potentially be charged with fraud.

The point of this post is not to speculate on what she should do, rather to encourage you to discuss electronic signatures with your kids and to keep a tight grip on your SS#!

happily avoiding loans for the moment
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