FRAUD FACTS FOR FRESHERS!

SFE ADVISES STUDENTS HOW NOT TO GET HOOKED INTO A ‘PHISHING NET’

13/09/2013

As the new academic year starts, Student Finance England (SFE) has launched a new video to warn all students, and especially freshers, to 'stay safe online' and be aware of a new generation of fraudsters looking to steal their student finance. 

SFE, which administers their loans and grants, is keen to make students aware of the risks they face from fraudulent attempts to access their loans and grants in phishing and smishing scams. The new SFE information and guidance video on these can be viewed on Youtube at http://www.youtube.com/user/SFEFILM. Its release is timely as the circulation of deceitful emails and texts, directed specifically at students, is particularly common around the time that student finance payments are made. 

To receive their initial payments students have to ensure that they have signed and returned their online declaration forms and that their university or college has confirmed attendance on their course.  Aware that students are receiving their funding, fraudsters target them with emails and texts requesting them to disclose personal and account details in order to access their finance.  All students, particularly freshers who may not have had previous experience managing their finances, can easily fall for their trickery. 

SFE has some top tips to prevent students getting hooked into a fraud 'phishing net'.

·    SFE will never ask you to confirm your bank details or login information by email. Be suspicious of any urgent requests for personal or financial information.


·    Phishing emails are sent out in bulk and are unlikely to contain your first or last name; they commonly begin, 'Dear Student'.


·    Check the quality of the email or text you receive - misspelling, poor punctuation and bad grammar are tell-tale signs of a phishing communication.


·    Always check you're using a secure website when submitting sensitive information online - for guidance, see http://www.slc.co.uk/students/online-safety/staying-safe-online.aspx - and don't post personal information on social media pages.


SFE and Student Loans Company Head of Counter Fraud Services Heather Laing advises: "We want to help our customers maintain their security and be aware of the risks that some online activity can pose. All students should be alert to these scams and remain vigilant to attempts to defraud them and steal their funds, particularly around payment times.

"It is absolutely vital for students to protect themselves and their finances by keeping personal and account information safe.  Students are reminded never to post their  personal details anywhere online or disclose them in an email or text.  We will never request a customer to provide or confirm their account or banking details by email or text."

The Student Loans Company provides practical guidance for students and top tips on how they can safeguard their funds at http://www.slc.co.uk/students/online-safety