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Wellbeing

Protect your money against fraud

By QMAdvice 08 Oct 2021

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Fraudsters know that this is the time of year when you’ll receive your maintenance loan or other funding into your bank account.

A perfect opportunity for them to try to access your personal information and your money. Watch out for bogus emails and texts, known as phishing, as well as phone calls, so-called vishing, supposedly from Student Finance England, which ask for your bank or student finance account details and passwords.

Fraudsters may also claim to be from the Police, the Home Office, the Inland Revenue, the Post Office or any organisation.  If you have an existing account with an organisation or have had recent contact with them, the texts, emails and calls can seem genuine. The language used can often be very persuasive with threats of fines or sanctions if you don’t comply, but the truth is, only criminals will pressurise you to provide personal information or transfer money:

  • Banks and financial institutions will never send you an email asking you to click on a link and confirm your account details or transfer money to another bank account.
  • The Home Office will never call and put pressure on you to pay them money.
  • The Student Loans Company or Student Finance England (SFE) will never ask you to confirm your bank details, login information or personal financial information by email or text message.

Here’s an example of a Student Finance text scam:

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Check out the Student Loans Company’s Guide to identifying Phishing Scams and how to avoid them and their phishing video on youtube. Here’s a summary of their advice:

  • Be suspicious of any requests for personal or financial information. The SLC or Student Finance England (SFE) will never ask you to confirm your bank details, login information or personal financial 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 telltale 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 text message that contains a link that you’re not sure of then try hovering over it 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. Always contact the organisation directly to check if a request is genuine.

If you receive a suspicious email send it to phishing@slc.co.uk.  Student Finance England can then investigate to protect other students. If you receive funding from Student Finance Wales, Northern Ireland or the SAAS, contact them directly to let them know too.

If you’ve been a victim of fraud, report it to ActionFraud and get advice about your options.

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