Derbyshire Constabulary and Derbyshire Alert have issued a warning to university students to be vigilant when it comes to student loan scams. But it's not just Derbyshire students who should take heed of their advice.
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. With the beginning of the new term, 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 the HMRC, stating that the individual owes tax on their student loan. These scammers try to use pressure tactics in an attempt to panic students into transferring their money. Anyone being asked for personal or financial information should hang up and call the loan provider on an official number. It is also important for students to be on the lookout 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, so it’s important that students remain vigilant.
How to protect yourself from scams
If you’re a student, or if your business employs students, here are some tips to spot a scam.
Correspondence from Student Finance England will not come via telephone - update alerts will be sent to your registered email address, asking you to log in to your account for more details.
Due to fake emails in circulation, it is crucial that you don't 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 network.
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
You can report any suspicious emails to firstname.lastname@example.org and suspicious text messages can be reported to 7726.
If you receive a phone call you think is part of a student loan scam, 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.