The Student Loans Company (SLC) is encouraging students to be on their guard for phishing scams as the company is preparing to pay Maintenance Loan funding to over one million students during September.
If you’re heading off to university or further education and have taken out a student loan, these tips will come in useful to ensure you’re not a victim of fraud.
Fraudsters often target students with bogus emails and SMS around the three loan payment dates across September, January and April each year.
In the last two academic years, the SLC has prevented scams totalling £500,000 to students at various universities.
Spotting a phishing email or SMS isn’t always easy, but the Student Loans Company has six fraud facts to help:
- 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.
- 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 you 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.
Steven Darling, Director for Repayment and Customer Compliance at the Student Loans Company, said:
“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.”