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Students warned to watch out for scams

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Written by: Emma Lunn
08/09/2020
The Student Loans Company (SLC) is encouraging students to be on their guard for phishing scams ahead of maintenance loans being paid into students’ bank accounts.

The loan payments will be made to about 1.1 million students throughout September.

Fraudsters typically target students with bogus emails and text messages around the three loan payment dates in September, January and April each year.

So, SLC is warning freshers and returning students to not be tricked into disclosing personal details or clicking on links in emails or text messages, as they could be installing malware.

In the past two academic years alone, SLC’s customer compliance teams have prevented more than half a million pounds from being phished from students’ loans.

The teams have a range of methods and fraud analytics to stop scammers in their tracks, but students need to know what to look out for.

How students can spot a phishing email or text message:

  • Be suspicious of any requests for your personal information. SLC or Student Finance England (SFE) will never ask you to confirm your login information or personal information by email or text message.
  • Be on your guard if you receive an email starting “Dear Student”. Phishing emails are often sent in bulk and are unlikely to contain both your first and last name.
  • Check the quality of the communication – misspelling, poor punctuation and bad grammar are often tell-tale signs of phishing.
  • Be especially wary of “Failure to respond in 24 hours will result in your account being closed” type messages. These are designed to convey a sense of urgency to prompt a quick response.
  • Think before you click. If you receive an email or SMS that contains a link that you’re not sure of then try hovering over the link to check that it goes where it’s supposed to. If you’re still in any doubt, don’t risk it.

Steven Darling, SLC director for repayment and customer compliance, 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 full time to steal their funding.”

Any student who receives a suspicious email or SMS should send it to phishing@slc.co.uk.

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