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6 April 2011, 10:39
East Midlands students are being targeted by fraudsters trying to steal their third student loan instalment.
Dodgy e-mails are being sent to students asking for personal or bank details. The Student Loans Company wants students to know that they will never request these details by email.
The number of students revealing their details to the scammers has more than tripled in the last year and the emails are rife in April and May, as fraudsters know students are due to receive their final funds for the academic year.
The Company has partnered with 'Get Safe Online' to produce a 'phishing guide' and top tips to promote online student safety and protection against scam emails.
Student Loans Company's Security Manager Robert Hurt, said:
"We are aware that some students from the East Midlands are being affected by these scam emails and we want to ensure that they do not respond to these.
"We monitor this issue very closely and aim to close phishing sites down as soon as students alert us to them, to protect other students.
"Students need to work with us to ensure their identity and financial details are protected and not compromised."
The Student Loans Company was recently alerted to a phishing scam which affected around 50 students from Sheffield Hallam university. We are working with the University to investigate the extent of this and the police have been informed.
Top Five Tips to Avoid Phishing
1. Be suspicious of any urgent requests for personal or financial information.
2. Be aware: Phishing scams are common at the three main instalment payment dates in September, January and April.
3. Always ensure that you're using a secure web site when submitting credit card or other sensitive information; look out for "https://" and/or the security lock.
4. Prevention: Your email details may have been taken from a social networking site so avoid disclosing your email address or make sure you hide it on your page.
5. Check the quality of the communication. Misspelling, poor punctuation and bad grammar are often tell-tale signs of phishing.
The Student Loans Company will:
Never ask to update your bank details
Never ask you to verify your account details
Never ask you to click a link, always type the address yourself: www.direct.gov.uk/studentfinance
Never ask you to answer combinations on the same screen i.e Your Customer Reference Number and Password on the same screen
Never provide you with a choice of secret questions. We will only ever ask you the question you gave us.
Never ask you to update items such as date of birth or provide your email address password.