We’ve had reports that there is an uplift in student loan scams currently. Students are advised to be vigilant against scams as they await the next payment of their maintenance loans.
The Student Loans Company (SLC) is urging students to be aware of fraud and smishing scams as the next student loan payment date approaches in January. Scammers will try to trick students into giving away personal and financial information by sending fake emails (phishing) and texts (smishing) or calling and pretending to be from SLC, Student Finance England (SFE), or other legitimate organisations, ahead of the January payment dates.
SLC will never ask students to provide their personal or financial information via email or text message. If a student receives a suspicious message, they should email it to email@example.com and if they think have been a victim of a scam, please contact SLC’s specialist team on 0300 100 0059.
SLC top tips on how to spot and stop a scam:
- Check the quality of the communication – misspellings, poor punctuation and bad grammar are often tell-tale signs of phishing.
- Keep an eye out for any emails, phone calls or SMS messages you think are suspicious, especially around the time you’re expecting a payment.
- You can also forward any suspicious texts to 7726 which will alert phone providers to the scam. More information can be found here – https://www.gov.uk/report-suspicious-emails-websites-phishing
- Scam emails and text messages are often sent in bulk to many people at the same time and are unlikely to contain both your first and last name. These commonly start – ‘Dear Student’ – so be on guard if you see one like this.
- Messages that convey a sense of urgency are also unlikely to be genuine – for example, ‘failure to respond in 24 hours will result in your account being closed’.
- Think before you click. If you receive an email or SMS that contains a link that you’re not sure of, then hover 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 directly to the source rather than clicking on a potentially dangerous link.
- Pay close attention to the sender’s information in emails and text messages.
- Scammers can use a variety of methods to try and get you to pay money or share personal details, including the use of fraudulent phone calls, social posts and direct messaging on digital platforms. If you are suspicious of being contacted, always use official phone numbers, your online account and official communication channels to verify the contact you received is genuine.
- Students should also be mindful of the information that they share about themselves on social media, and elsewhere online, to help guard against identity theft. Identity theft happens when fraudsters access information about a person’s identity, such as their name, date of birth, customer reference number, course information or their current or previous addresses to impersonate them online and over the phone.
- Check out our guide to identifying a scam at gov.uk/guidance/phishing-scams-how-you-can-avoid-them