Fraudsters target freshers' student loans
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Just weeks before thousands of students start the new academic year,The Student Loans Company are warning students to not disclose any details or respond to emails which claim to be from Student Finance England, as fraudsters target student loan instalments. A new wave of phishing emails are being circulated, claiming that if students do not respond with personal information updates, students will ‘lose or delay’ their first instalment of their student finance loan. The Student Loans Company also advised students to avoid clicking the link contained within the email, as they risk installing malware on their system. Head of Counter Fraud Services at the Student Loans Company, Fiona Innes, says: “Online fraudsters are aware that freshers are starting university for the first time next month and are targeting them, continuing students and their sponsors with emails and texts requesting personal and banking details to access their finance”. She also highlighted that “we will never request a customer’s personal or banking details by email or text message.” She also noted, “We want to remind students to stay vigilant with the details they provide online and to be mindful of the personal information about themselves they post online and on social media too." Since the Academic year 2012/2014 Counter Fraud Services have prevented fraud losses totalling over £65 million. Even over the last three Septembers, Student Finance’s Counter Fraud and Security teams have prevented over 1.5 million students’ first maintenance payments being stolen through scams aiming to catch out freshers. The Student Loans Company have created some tips to help customers identify phishing emails: • Be suspicious of any requests for personal or financial information. SLC or Student Finance England (SFE) will never ask you to confirm your bank details or login information by email. • 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 bad 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. Anyone who receives a suspicious email they think may be a scam should send it to firstname.lastname@example.org. To find out more about Staying Safe Online visit www.slc.co.uk/students/online-safety.aspx and watch the below video:
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