Fraud of­fi­cers warn stu­dents about new phish­ing scam

Birmingham Post - - BUSINESS -

STU­DENTS are be­ing warned of an email scam at­tempt­ing to trick peo­ple into hand­ing over their per­sonal in­for­ma­tion.

As stu­dents pre­pare to head off for the new aca­demic year, Ac­tion Fraud and the Stu­dent Loans Com­pany are warn­ing of a phish­ing scam that claims to be from the stu­dent loan provider.

The phish­ing email has come to light over the past two weeks and claims that Stu­dent Loans Com­pany ac­counts have been sus­pended due to in­com­plete stu­dent in­for­ma­tion.

It urges the re­cip­i­ent to up­date their de­tails us­ing a web link which then leads to a fake web­site with the aim of har­vest­ing per­sonal de­tails. Ac­tion Fraud said the Stu­dent Loans Com­pany has con­firmed the email is not gen­uine.

The scam is be­lieved to tar­get both new and cur­rent univer­sity stu­dents. But Ac­tion Fraud says there have been in­ci­dents where peo­ple who have never ap­plied for stu­dent fi­nance have also re­ceived the email.

Ac­tion Fraud is run by the City of Lon­don Po­lice and is the UK’s fraud and cy­ber crime re­port­ing cen­tre.

Det Chief Insp Andy Fyfe, of the City of Lon­don Po­lice, said: “This phish­ing email dis­plays a num­ber of tell-tale signs of a scam, in­clud­ing spell­ing and gram­mar er­rors.

“As the new univer­sity year be­gins, we are urg­ing peo­ple to be es­pe­cially cau­tious of emails that re­quest per­sonal de­tails. Al­ways con­tact your bank if you be­lieve you have fallen vic­tim to a scam.”

Here are some tips from Ac­tion Fraud to pro­tect against phish­ing emails:

If an email asks you to make a pay­ment, log in to an online ac­count or of­fers you a deal, be cau­tious. Real banks never email you for pass­words or any other sen­si­tive in­for­ma­tion by click­ing on a link and vis­it­ing a web­site. If you get a call from some­one who claims to be from your bank, do not give away any per­sonal de­tails.

Make sure your spam fil­ter is on your emails. If you find a sus­pect email, mark it as spam and delete it to keep out sim­i­lar emails in fu­ture.

If in doubt, check it is gen­uine by ask­ing the com­pany it­self. Never fol­low links pro­vided in sus­pect emails. Find the of­fi­cial web­site or cus­tomer sup­port num­ber us­ing a sep­a­rate browser and search en­gine.

Signs of a scam email in­clude poor spell­ing, gram­mar, de­sign or im­age qual­ity. They may use odd spellings or cap­i­tals in the email sub­ject to fool the spam fil­ter.

If scam­mers know your email ad­dress but not your name, an email may start with some­thing like: “To our val­ued cus­tomer”, or “Dear...” fol­lowed by your email ad­dress.

Au­then­tic web­site ad­dresses are of­ten short and do not use ir­rel­e­vant words or phrases.

Peo­ple who have been af­fected by a scam can re­port it to Ac­tion Fraud by vis­it­ing www.ac­tion­fraud. po­lice.uk or call­ing 0300 123 2040. The Ac­tion Fraud web­site also has a web chat ser­vice.

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