Action Fraud says the allegations of the scam have been reported and are investigating.
Students are being warned to remain vigilant against online fraud after an undergraduate student claims he was scammed by a Manchester-based operation using Snapchat.
Action Fraud is investigating after a student lost over £2,500 after being approached on the social media app by someone claiming to be from Student finance England saying that it was possible to increase his student loan if a processing fee was applied.
The student funding body also issued a warning that university students should be careful when online and approached about financial matters, including specific instructions not to engage with people about money on Snapchat.
According to the first cycle, what happened?
An undergraduate student, who we do not name, approached ManchesterWorld to say that while she was on Snapchat she added someone who said he was from Student Finance England. She was told she could increase the amount she received to support her through her studies, but there would be a processing fee.
After she agreed to this, the account proceeded to enter her card details during the fee payment process through the bank. Instead of sending back the increased sum of money that had been promised, the student then discovered that almost £2,700 had been taken from her bank account to be spent on various transactions.
ManchesterWorld has seen evidence to suggest the scam originated in Manchester.
The student said that throughout the online conversations, the scammer repeatedly reassured her that everything was legit and honest. And with students struggling to meet the cost of supporting themselves as prices soar, she fears other cash-strapped young people will suffer the same fate as her if they are approached on social media.
She said: ‘It was showing Student Finance England on that Snapchat account and I even got confirmation texts saying I could get increased payouts. I didn’t think it was just from a random number.
“He just took my details and then there were these transactions. I was really struggling financially and needed help with my course, rent and everything. I probably should have done more research before he took the money, but I didn’t really think about it.
What did Student Loans Company say?
The Student Loan Corporation (SLC) confirmed that the undergrad reported his experiences to his fraud department. The organization has also shared information with students specifically about Snapchat scams and to ensure they are not victimized. Phishing and other types of cybercrime more generally.
A message posted on Twitter specifically told anyone approached on Snapchat by someone claiming to be from Student Finance England that under no circumstances should they respond or engage further.
The SLC says the start of academic terms and years are times when students need to be especially vigilant to make sure they don’t fall victim to fraudsters as payments come in.
The organization has also compiled a list of telltale signs that could help young people recognize scammers. These include frequent spelling mistakes and poor use of punctuation and grammar in messages, messages that start with a generic address like: “Dear student”, as this could indicate that they are sent in bulk, and warnings that failure to respond within a short period of time such as 24 hours will result in account termination. Students were also asked to use official phone numbers, their online accounts and official communication channels to verify that any contact they receive from people about the money is genuine.
Bernice McNaught, Executive Director of Reimbursements and Client Compliance at the Student Loans Company, said: “It’s no surprise that at this time of year students, especially freshmen, have a lot on their mind – getting to know classes and campuses, making new friends or exploring a new environment.
“With so much attention grabbing, it’s easy for students to let their guard down when it comes to online scams and phishing fraud. Unfortunately, digital scams, phishing and identity theft have become a part of modern life, and scammers are all too aware that the three student funding payment periods in September, January and April of each year are a privileged moment to try to deceive the students. .
“Keeping money in students’ pockets is a top priority for SLC. Our fraud teams strive to stay abreast of ever-evolving digital scams, in order to support students who are at risk of losing their funds to fraudsters. The first line of defense against fraudsters is always the students themselves. They can protect their account by following our simple tips. »
fifth takea national campaign to stop fraud, also offers advice on its website.
What did Action Fraud say?
Pauline Smith, Head of Action Fraudthe UK’s National Reporting Center for Fraud and Cybercrime, said of the first round allegations: “Action Fraud can confirm that it received this case on 4 October 2022 and is currently being assessed by City of London Police National Fraud Intelligence Bureau.”