Cybercriminals are targeting students with bogus offers of university grants just as they head to college, police have warned.
Action Fraud, which monitors the reporting of fraud and cyber crime, has reported a spate of the scam emails sent out to unwitting students, just as they head to university for the start of the academic year. According to MoneySavingExpert.com, several students have fallen victim to the scam, with one at Queen Mary University in London tricked out of £300.
Students receive an email claiming to be from their university and informing them that they qualify for payment of hundreds of pounds. They are asked to enter personal information, including bank details and their National Insurance number, so the payment can be processed.
Police have issued the following advice to students:
- Don’t open attachments or clink on links on any unsolicited emails you receive
- An email address can be spoofed. So even if it appears to be from someone or a company you know, if the message is unexpected or unusual, contact the sender directly via another method and check that they have sent it to you
- Never respond to emails that ask for your personal or financial details
- If you are asked to log-in to an online account, don’t click on the links in the email, make a fresh search for the website
- If you suspect the email is a scam don’t reply to the sender. Flag the email as spam with your email provider and delete it
- Always install the latest software and app updates as soon as they are available. They contain vital security upgrades which help protect your device from viruses and hackers
- If you think your bank details have been compromised or have been a victim of fraud, you should contact your bank and report it to Action Fraud (opens new window) immediately
The bogus emails, which were first reported to authorities in May this year, look like this:
The Student Loans Company said students were particularly vulnerable to phishing attempts at the main payment dates in September, January and April.