With the new academic year on the horizon, university students are being warned by police to be vigilant around student loan scams.
Around the three loan payment dates in September, January and April, fraudsters target students in an attempt to trick them into disclosing personal information - with the aim of accessing their online accounts and to potentially steal their money.
Police say there is often an increase in scam phone calls around this time of year, where students receive a call from someone claiming to be from HMRC, stating that the individual owes tax on their student loan.
Scammers try to use pressure tactics in an attempt to panic students into transferring their money.
Anyone being asked for personal or financial information is advised to hang up and call the loan provider back on an official number.
Students are also being reminded of the importance to be on the look out for official looking, bogus emails and text messages around this time of year, claiming to be from Student Finance England or the HMRC.
All students, particularly freshers, who may not have had previous experience managing their finances, can easily fall for these scams.
How to protect yourself from scams
Correspondence from Student Finance England will not be over the telephone – update alerts will be sent to a registered email address, asking you to log in to your account for more details.
Due to fake emails in circulation, it's crucial not to click on any links within texts or emails and only log on to your Student Finance account via a trusted device and through a web browser, over a secure Wi-Fi.
Police say you should never do any of the following:
- Click on any links in emails or text messages.
- Provide or confirm bank details over the telephone or by email or text message.
- Verify your account details or personal information over the phone or by email or text message.
- Provide your email address password.
- Transfer money via a phone call or through a link.
How to report a student loan scam
People can report any suspicious emails to firstname.lastname@example.org and suspicious text messages can be reported to 7726.
Anyone who receives a phone call they think is part of a student loan scam should contact Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 or visit https://www.actionfraud.police.uk.
Further information on student finance can be found on the government website.