Going to Uni? Don’t fall for this student loan scam!
Many students about to start their university and college courses could fall victim to a cyber scam if they are not vigilant. This follows warnings that fraudsters are aware that students will soon receive their first loan instalment of the year, and are using 'phishing' to try and steal this money.
Student Loans Scam
According to the Student Loans Company (SCL), students should be suspicious of any requests for personal or financial information from anyone claiming to be from the SLC or Student Finance England (SFE).
The loan provider claims that, in the last two academic years alone, its counter-fraud teams have stopped more than half-a-million pounds from being phished from student loans.
In most cases, students will receive emails, texts, calls etc. claiming to be from a student loan company. These messages will request personal or financial information that could be used to access their accounts and steal their much-needed money.
Attacks increase just as loan instalments are released. Cybercriminals have also been known to target the parents and partners of students to get access to this data.
What can you do to protect yourself from student loan scams?
Here are some quick tips to keep you safe from this type of scam:
- Never disclose security details such as passwords
- Don't assume an email, text or phone call is authentic. Just because someone knows some personal information about you (i.e. your mother's maiden name), that doesn't mean they are genuine
- Know that legitimate financial organisations would never contact you and ask you to confirm your login information
- Emails that start 'Dear Student' are unlikely to be genuine. But, even if your personal details are included, this doesn't mean that the communication is real
- Any warnings such as 'failure to respond in 24 hours will result in your account being closed' should start alarm bells ringing
- Be aware who you're sharing your personal information with. Only give out details to a service you trust and that you've contacted directly or are expecting to be contacted by. Even then, do not hand over sensitive information such as PINs or passwords
- Don't be rushed into handing over personal or financial information
- If something doesn't feel right listen to your instincts. Leave the conversation if it makes you at all uncomfortable
- Always question who you're talking to. If in any doubt call them back using trusted contact details to check the request is genuine
- Don't be afraid to say you'll get back to someone using the phone number or email address as listed on their website. A legitimate organisation would never try to panic you out of taking security checks
- Never automatically click on a link in an unexpected email or text
- Make sure you look at the address bar when logging into a website. If there is a padlock icon your connection is secure. If a site doesn't have this lock icon, do not share any sensitive information
- If you're worried that you may be at risk, report it to the Police or Action Fraud straight away.
Get digitally aware
At Hayes Connor Solicitors, we want to reduce the number of data violations and successful cyber scams taking place across the UK. To do this, we are raising awareness of this issue and educating people to help stop fraudsters in their tracks.
Alternatively, if you have been the victim of an online scam, contact us find out how we can help you to recover any losses.