Unis issue warnings over fake student finance emails

Students have already been conned out of ‘thousands of pounds’

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Scammers posing as the Student Loans Company are sending out emails to trick you into giving away your details.

Students at Oxford Brookes, Durham and Brunel University have been warned by Union officers not to respond to emails sent by scammers posing as Student Finance England.

Click to enlarge - the email received by Brookes students

Click to enlarge – the email received by Brookes students

The suspect messages were sent to university email addresses, asking students to update their student finance account with a link provided.

Union officials at Oxford Brookes University alerted new students in freshers groups this evening, warning them urgently not to respond to the scam.

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Speaking exclusively to The Tab, Will Crisp, VP Student Experience at Brookes Union said “As far as I’m aware they’re sending out a very official looking email asking you to input your bank details, national insurance number and address.

“Students have already been conned out of thousands of pounds.

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Later, students were encouraged to change all their details to avoid being scammed out of more money

“Our advice service isn’t open until the morning. The strategy at the moment is the union officers trying to warn everyone and ringing Student Finance to make them aware of the problem.”

Durham University’s Undergraduate Student Finance Team said “Whilst you may legitimately get emails if you are in receipt of, or have applied for, student grants or loans, you will NEVER be asked to update your account details in them.”

We contacted SLC, who said in a statement

“Student Finance England is aware of a number of phishing emails in circulation, phishing scams are very common around this time of year in the lead up to payments being made.

“SFE want to remind students and parents that we will never ask customers to click on a link or confirm their personal or banking information by email.”

The address where two of the emails originated was from Georgetown University’s domain in the USA.

When contacted by The Tab, Georgetown said they were looking into the issue and would update us.

Gmail flagged some emails, but many university addresses use Outlook

Click to enlarge – warning message shown by Gmail

The links forward the user to pages hosted by Universitas Lampung in Indonesia, a lighting company based in Kazakhstan, or ZeppelinHellas, a playground equipment website based in Greece.

But these pages redirect to a form asking for personal information, bank details, and others. The form itself is hosted on a Russian site, Autosnab24.

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Some of these emails have managed to fool spam filters, although some of the links have now been flagged as dangerous by various browser providers.

Have you received these suspicious emails? Did you give away any information? Let us know by emailing [email protected]