FRESHERS starting their university and college courses are being warned to be on their guard against phishing attacks where scammers claim to be providing loan information.
The warning comes from the Student Loans Company (SLC) as attacks via emails, texts or malware traditionally increase in the loan instalment periods – September, January and April each year.
In the last two academic years alone, the SLC’s dedicated counter fraud teams have prevented more than half-a-million pounds from being phished from student loans.
The SLC has now issued advice to help students stop the scammers as the phishing attacks are not always easy to spot.
Students should be suspicious of any requests for personal or financial information as the SLC or Student Finance England (SFE) would never ask people to confirm their bank details or login information by email or text message.
Phishing emails are often sent in bulk and are unlikely to contain both the students’ first and last names – they commonly start, ‘Dear Student’.
Misspelling, poor punctuation and bad grammar are often giveaways of phishing and warnings such as ‘failure to respond in 24 hours will result in your account being closed’ should also start alarm bells ringing.
Students are also urged to think before they click – if they receive an email or SMS which contains a link they are unsure of, they should hover their cursor over it to check where it is leading to.
If people are still unsure they should contact the SLC directly rather than clicking a potentially dangerous link and contact the SLC direct.
Steven Darling, director for repayment and counter fraud strategy at the Student Loans Company, said: “Online fraudsters are well aware students are receiving their first instalment of the year soon.
“They will try to target them and their parents or partners with emails and texts requesting personal and banking details to access their accounts.”
Suspicious emails or texts should be sent to email@example.com so SLC can investigate the site and ensure it is shut down to protect other students.