Students should be especially alert over the festive period according to the Student Loans Company (SLC).
Students should be on the lookout for email phishing scams, as fraudsters will be targeting them in time for their second student finance payout in January.
For those not in the know, phishing scams work by fraudsters sending out an email that looks to be associated with a respectable association (often a bank) and which asks you either to download a file or visit a website and enter confidential information.
By opening an attachment you could be allowing a virus on to your computer, and any personal data you enter will be accessible to the fraudsters who will happily steal your card details and any other information they can get.
In this instance the fraudsters may well pretend to be the SLC asking a student for financial information.
Here are the SLC’s top tips for staying safe:
- Be suspicious of any urgent requests for personal or financial information – the SLC (as with banks) would never ask you to confirm your bank details by email.
- Check the email address of the sender, as this is often a big giveaway. Emails that come from the SLC will come from ‘firstname.lastname@example.org’.
- See if the email addresses you by name – most phishing scams will just say ‘Dear Sir/Madam’ because they’re sent out in bulk.
- Check the spelling, grammar and punctuation. A lot of phishing emails are written in very poor English.
Students are asked to send any suspicious student finance emails to email@example.com. The SLC’s fraud team have already stopped £3 millions being given to fraudsters by closely monitoring phishing sites and shutting them down immediately.
Heather Lang, Head of Counter Fraud Services at the Student Loans Company, said: “Fraudsters usually target students at the three main installment dates and we anticipate that there will be a surge in phishing emails over the festive period and around the January pay date.
“Students are reminded never to post their personal details anywhere online, especially on social media sites which fraudsters often check for information. We will never request a customer to provide or confirm their bank details by email or text.”
Are you a student who’s received one of these phishing emails? Maybe you’re not a student but have received a number of phishing emails? Let us know your experiences in the comments section below, as well as tips you have for staying safe!