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Students warned to watch out for phishing attacks

Fraudsters may target students around September when loan funding is paid, the Student Loans Company said.

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Students are being warned of phishing scams as they head to university (PA)

Students are being warned of phishing scams as they head to university (PA)

Students are being warned of phishing scams as they head to university (PA)

Students are being warned to beware of phishing scams as they head to university.

The Student Loans Company (SLC) is encouraging people to be on their guard for frauds as it prepares to pay maintenance loan funding to around 1.1 million students throughout September.

As payments make their way to students, the company is warning them not to be tricked into disclosing personal details or clicking on links in emails or text messages, as they could be installing malware.

Fraudsters may target students with bogus emails and texts around the three loan payment dates in September, January and April each year.

In the last two academic years alone, the company said its dedicated customer compliance teams have prevented more than half a million pounds from being phished from students’ loans.

The teams have methods to stop scammers in their tracks, but the company said students need to know that they are the best and first line of defence.

Steven Darling, director for repayment and customer compliance at the Student Loans Company, said: “We’re reminding all students to be vigilant for online scams and phishing attempts as the new academic year gets under way this September. Although things may be a bit different for some freshers this year, we want them to know that scammers are still working full-time to steal their funding.

“Students can keep their account safe by following our simple tips and anyone who receives a suspicious email or SMS should send it to phishing@slc.co.uk. SLC can investigate the site and ensure it is shut down, to help protect other students.”

The Student Loans Company has six tips to help spot a scam:

– Be suspicious of any requests for your personal information. SLC or Student Finance England (SFE) will never ask you to confirm your login information or personal information by email or text message.

– Phishing emails are often sent in bulk and are unlikely to contain both your first and last name; they commonly start: “Dear Student”.

– Check the quality of the communication. Misspelling, poor punctuation and poor grammar are often tell-tale signs of phishing.

– “Failure to respond in 24 hours will result in your account being closed” – these types of messages are designed to convey a sense of urgency to prompt a quick response.

– Think before you click. If you receive an email or text that contains a link that you are not sure of then try hovering over to check that it goes where it is supposed to. If you are still in any doubt do not risk it, always go direct to the source rather than clicking on a potentially dangerous link.

– A guide to identifying a phishing scam is available at www.gov.uk/guidance/phishing-scams-how-you-can-avoid-them.

PA