University students warned on targeted phishing emails

According to the Student Loans Company (SLC) cybercriminals are attempting to extract the information because they know that April/May is when students receive their third and final tranche of government funds for the academic year.

Infosecurity understands that bursary offices at several universities in the North of England have been contacted about the scams.

The SLC, meanwhile, says that the number of students revealing their details to the phishing fraudsters has more than tripled in the last year.

As part of its anti-fraud drive against the problem, the company has linked up with the Get Safe Online project to produce a `phishing guide' and a number of security tips designed to online student safety and protection against scam emails.

Robert Hurt, the SLC's security manager, said that his team have been aware that some students are being affected by these scam emails and we want to ensure that they do not respond to these.

"We monitor this issue very closely and aim to close phishing sites down as soon as students alert us to them, to protect other students", he said, adding that students need to work with the SLC to ensure their identity and financial details are not compromised.

According to the SLC, it was recently alerted to a phishing scam which affected around 50 students from Sheffield Hallam University and is working with the uni, as well as the police, to investigate the extent of the scam.

Reporting on this issue, the Huddersfield Daily Examiner says that, during 2010, around 110 students across the UK fell victim to this type of fraud, with a further 140 students - including the 50 at Sheffield - were hit in the first quarter of this year.

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