The new college year can’t really get started – until Student Loans arrive.
Students are on high alert this time of year – anticipating notification that the loan has hit the bank. Rent to pay, fees and books to buy. Maybe a new phone…new pair of converse… Couldn’t walk past them J.
Unfortunately, nowadays students aren’t the only ones on High Alert this time of year. Online fraudsters have now designed various crafty schemes and scams to con unsuspecting students out of their much-needed loans. Students need to get wise and stay vigilant to these scams. Education equates to more life opportunities and many students just would not be able to survive college without their grant.
First-year and returning university students have been warned of a phishing scam that claims to be from the Student Loan Provider. Cyber scammers are believed to be targeting students as they prepare to start their new academic year at college or University. Students are being tricked into giving away personal information that is then used to steal their identity and defraud them.
What is a Phishing email?
You have probably already received one in the past. Usually from your bank or another well known company such as an online retailer, they are asking for personal information. These emails now look like the real thing. Even to someone who is aware of online scams. They are designed to trick and spoof you into handing over important personal information.
One of the main issues with online scams of this nature is that most of us have gotten used to buying things online, using online banking and even paying bills. Now the good news is that as long as you deal with organisations you trust then you should remain safe.
However cybercriminals are getting very clever – finding increasingly clever ways of impersonating well known businesses and brands online. As a result more and more people are getting tricked – handing over personal information such as account numbers, passwords or even pin numbers without checking the authenticity of the email or website they’re using.
Can you spot a Phishing email?
That’s a great question. Even if I do say so myself J.
Although these guys are getting clever there are always clues, so be on the look out for:
Your bank or online retailer will never, ever send you an email asking you for your full pin or password. Check the email subject line. If you spot any of the following ‘There is a secure message waiting for you’, ‘Security Alert’ or ‘System Upgrade’ treat this as suspect. Put a call in to the bank or retailer to check before proceeding with your details.
Don’t click on links within the email asking you to ‘Verify your Information’. Even if it looks legit, you can be taken to a page which looks real but once you enter your login details the scam is complete and you’ve handed over your login details to the scammer.
Watch out for misspellings in the email or the use of ‘To our valued customer’, or ‘Dear…’ followed by your email address. These should raise a red flag with you. Phishing emails are sent out in bulk and therefore unlikely to contain your first name or surname.
Always be suspicious of an email asking you to reply with personal information or to click on a link to verify sensitive information.
Paul Mason, Executive Director of Repayments and Counter Fraud, said: ‘We will never request a student’s personal or banking details by email or text message’.
Anyone who receives a scam email about student finance should send it to [email protected] as well as reporting it to Action Fraud. This allows us to close the site down and stop students from being caught out.
Have a great year Students. And stay alert online.
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