Freshers Week Leeds 2021: how to avoid student loan scams, fraud and phishing according to the Student Loans Company

The Student Loans Company is warning students starting university this month to be on guard for phishing and fraudulent scams.

Friday, 10th September 2021, 1:22 pm
Updated Monday, 13th September 2021, 11:31 am

The Student Loans Company (SLC) is preparing to pay over £2 billion in maintenance loans to more than 1 million students throughout this month.

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Eight money scams and the warning signs everyone needs to know about

The company is now warning Freshers of frausters using the upcoming student loan dispersal to trick students into disclosing personal details via 'phishing'.

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Be careful when giving out personal information via phone or email, says SLC.

Phishing, a common term for scamming, is a type of social engineering attack in which cyber criminals trick victims into handing over sensitive information or installing malware.

Fraudsters target students with fake emails and text messages around the three loan payment dates in September, January and April in an attempt to get them to give over personal details.

Bernice McNaught, Executive Director, Repayments and Customer Compliance at the Student Loans Company, said:

“We work hard to help our customers stay safe, but fraudsters are persistent and will try to target them and their parents with emails and texts requesting personal details to access their accounts.

“We’re reminding all students to be vigilant for online scams and phishing attempts as the new academic year gets underway this September.

"Although things may be a bit different for some Freshers this year, we want them to know that scammers are still working to steal their funding.

“Students can keep their account safe by following our simple tips and anyone who receives a suspicious email or SMS should send it to [email protected]

"SLC can investigate the site and ensure it is shut down, to help protect other students.”

SLC have now issued advice for new or returning students to help them spot fraudulent messages:

Keep an eye out for any emails, phone calls or SMS messages that look suspicious, especially around the time of payment.

Scam emails are often sent in bulk and are unlikely to contain both first and last names; they commonly start, ‘Dear Student’ so be on guard.

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.

If emails or SMS' containin a link that looks suspicous, try hovering over it to check that it goes where it’s supposed to.

If still in any doubt don’t risk it, always go direct to the source rather than clicking on a potentially dangerous link.

Scammers use a several different approaches to try and get students to pay money or share their personal details, including the use of fraudulent phone calls, social posts and direct messaging on digital platforms.

SLC always use official phone numbers, online accounts and official communication channels so verify the contact you received is through one of these.

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