Students are being warned by the government to be vigilant of scammers targeting freshers with phishing emails.
Fraudsters are known to try to con students around the dates their student loans get paid.
And HMRC has issued fresh warnings this year that the scammers are particularly likely to send out phishing emails this time of year.
The goverment branch say they are particularly worried that the con-artists are sending out emails offering fake tax refunds.
They say that students who have had “little or no interaction with the tax system” are particularly likely to be taken in by the swindle.
Emails sent out by the fraudsters often end in .ac.uk, making them seem legitimate, and sometimes even include the target’s full name and email address.
As well as stealing money, fraudsters are after personal details so they can set up direct debts.
The Student Loans Company offers the following advice to spot a fraudulent email:
- Be suspicious of any requests for personal or financial information. SLC or Student Finance England (SFE) will never ask you to confirm your bank details or login information by email or text message.
- Phishing emails are often sent in bulk and are unlikely to contain both your first and last name; they commonly start, ‘Dear Student’ so be on guard if see one like this.
- 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.
- 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 to check that it goes where it’s supposed to. If you’re still in any doubt don’t risk it, always go direct to the source rather than clicking on a potentially dangerous link.
Anyone who receives a suspicious email should send it to firstname.lastname@example.org.