What scams do fraudsters use?
‘Phishing’, ‘smishing’ and ‘vishing’ are the three main types of scams criminals will use to try to gain access to your personal details. They can then use these details to sign in to your online account, steal information and potentially take your money.
- ‘Phishing’ is any activity designed to trick you into giving out your personal details such as usernames, passwords and bank details – this is normally done by email.
- ‘Smishing’ is any activity designed to trick you into giving out your personal details such as usernames, passwords and bank details – this is normally done by text message.
- ‘Vishing’ is done over the phone when criminals impersonate a person or business and try to get you to provide your personal details.
How to spot a scam
Phishing, smishing and vishing scams can happen at any time and students can be targeted around payment dates at the start of term. Here are some of our top tips to spot them:
- Phishing emails are often sent in bulk and are unlikely to contain both your first and last name, they commonly start: ‘Dear Student’.
- Check the quality of the communication – misspelling, poor punctuation and bad grammar are common signs of bogus emails or text messages.
- Fraudsters will try to create a sense of urgency as a way of pressuring you in to giving your personal details. For example, they’ll say things like ‘failure to respond in 24 hours will result in your account being closed’.
How to avoid these scams
Student Finance have put together some tips to help you stay safe:
- Keep an eye out for any emails, phone calls or SMS messages you think are suspicious, especially around the time you’re expecting a payment.
- You shouldn’t post messages online that let people know you’re getting your student finance payment soon, this could make you a target for fraudsters.
- Always ensure that you’re using a secure website when submitting sensitive information online and don’t post personal info on social media pages.
- Avoid logging in to your student finance account on public networks or computers.
- If you receive a phone call that you’re suspicious about, don’t feel pressured in to giving the requested details. Call Student Finane on a number you know is genuine from their contact page.
If you get an email or text message about student finance that you think is a scam you should send it to Student Finance at firstname.lastname@example.org. This allows them to close the site down and stop students from being caught out.
If you receive a phone call you think is part of a vishing scam, email Student Finance at email@example.com. This will help them protect your account and keep your personal details secure.