college

What if I became loan co-signer by forgery?

Don TaylorDear Dr. Don,
My husband and I are co-signers on private student loans for my daughter. She is not making payments, and we have been paying on them for about six months. We've started looking into what our options are concerning these loans.

In the process of checking into it, we found that the American Education Services, or AES, loans had signatures on them that were not our signatures. We cannot afford to make these payments. Are we still responsible if we did not sign and it's a case of forgery? What can be done about this?

Thanks,
-- Rita Wronged

Dear Rita,
If you haven't already done so, this would be a good time to discuss this with your daughter. If she didn't sign the documents for you or have someone else do it for her and you didn't sign the documents, then it's time to talk to a lawyer about the apparent forgery.

If she did sign for you or arrange for the fraudulent signatures, then you might need to retain counsel if you plan to back away from making loan payments as a co-signer. If you can prove you're not the co-signers, the lender may be able to pursue legal remedies against your daughter.

I spoke with a representative at AES about your situation without naming you personally. I was told that AES is simply a loan servicer and therefore was not the originating lender on her loan. The representative points out that there is no upside to a lender in forging signatures on student loans and that the lender is unlikely to be the source of the forged signatures.

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