The Student Loans Company has issued a warning to students about scam emails asking them to change their bank account details online. This information is then used to intercept and redirect funds to an alternative account, resulting in many students missing out on a much needed cash injection at the beginning of the academic year.
Dozens of students were tricked by emails that appeared official asking for bank details, national insurance numbers and identity codes. Some more sophisticated hackers were even able to use universities’ internal networks to appear authentic and propagate the scam.
Unfortunately for some, the warning came too late as many gave their details and lost their money. The loans company refused to repay the money to the correct recipient, regardless of whether they had been a victim of the scam.
SLC reiterated that they would never ask for any update or verification of bank details via email, nor would they ask for both Customer Reference Number and Password on the same screen. Tell-tale signs of phishing emails include needlessly urgent requests for information and poor quality communication, such as misspellings and bad grammar.
Students are advised to be particularly vigilant of such emails circulating in January and April when the successive instalments of the loans are due to be paid.