Students sorting out loans and accommodation could be prime targets for hackers.

For many this will be their first time away from home and the first time they have had control of their own finances. Fraudsters are acutely aware of this and ready to take advantage through extremely sophisticated scams.

Quick guide to the cons

Student Loans – Scam e-mails which look as though they are from the official Student Loans Co or Student Finance England/Wales, typically requesting urgent access to personal and banking details. A con last year claimed failure to respond with this personal information would result in losing or delaying their first loan payment.

Accommodation – Scams often involve students replying to fraudulent ads and parting with cash or card details as a holding deposit for a non-existent property

Nightclub Events – Hackers setting up fake events and ask students for their details for a guest list.

HRMC (The Taxman)HRMC phishing messages might claim to offer a refund or say that you need to pay a penalty. These can look extremely authentic and are designed to obtain personal details and payment information.

Banks – Spoof e-mails or text messages claiming suspicious activity or the account needs to be verified, you will be directed to a website or phone number both of which are controlled by the fraudster.

TV Licensing – Be wary of e-mails that appear to come from TV Licensing, claiming to offer a refund, if you click the link you risk passing your details to the fraudster.

Broadband – Consumer watchdog, Which? is urging people to watch out for a ‘pending message’ to their broadband bill with a link to click.

Mystery Shopper – Which? Also warns of a recent scam asking Nando’s fans to apply to be a ‘secret diner’ for a chance to win a Nando’s gift card. The online application form offers scammers the perfect way to steal people’s information.

Top tips to keep you safe online

Don’t reply to a suspected phishing e-mail with personal details and financial information.

Look out for sloppy spelling and grammar, messages addressed to ‘Dear Customer’ and messages stressing the need for urgent action

Avoid downloading attachments or clicking links.

Student Loans Company and HMRC will not request your personal or banking details by e-mail or text message. This also applies to all reputable organisations.

Fraudsters now send phishing e-mails that appear to have come from your friends. Look carefully at the e-mail address and the text before clicking on it, your friend may well have been hacked!

Take standard cyber-security precautions.

If you think you have fallen victim to a scam report it to actionfraud.police.uk or call 0300 1232040 or send suspicious e-mails to phishing@hmrc.gsi.gov.uk or phishing@sic.co.uk.

For more information see https://www.getsafeonline.org/

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