Thousands of fraud reports have been received by the tax authority from students at university and colleges across the UK. Fake emails, which use university addresses in a bid to appear legitimate, may tell people that they are owed money and encourage them to send their personal details. The recipient’s name and email address may be included several times within the email itself and the email will include links that redirect the recipient to websites where their data is stolen. The emails often spoof the branding of HMRC, Gov.UK or credit card branding.
Director of Action Fraud, Pauline Smith said: ‘Devious fraudsters will try every trick in the book to convince victims to hand over their personal information, often with devastating consequences. It is vital that students spot the signs of fraudulent emails to avoid falling victim by following HMRC’s advice.”
Anyone targeted should not click on any links but can report cases to HMRC on their website or by texting 60599.
To report a fraud, call Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 or use our online fraud reporting tool.
What you can do to protect your money.
It is not solely a banks responsibility to keep our money safe, we must also take steps to protect ourselves adequately. Most people think they wouldn’t fall for a fraudulent text or email and are too savvy to be scammed, but criminals are more sophisticated than ever. When it comes to your money, always think twice. Have you received an unexpected call, email or text asking you to provide personal information? Just because someone knows some of your personal details it does not mean they are genuine. They may know your full name, address, maiden name etc, but they could be a fraudster looking to extract more information from you in order to gain access to your bank account and your money.
Stay safe from financial crime and remember:
- A bank or trusted organisation will never contact you asking for your PIN of full password, or to transfer money to a ‘Safe Account’.
- Never give out your personal or financial details unless you are 100% sure who you are talking to.
- Never automatically click on a link in an unexpected email or text. This could give a fraudster access to your personal details.
- Always question people who contact you through cold-calling. Under new legislation brought in this year, it is now illegal to cold-call and individual unless you have given your specific consent for them to do so.
- If you are in any doubt about who a caller is, end the call. You can always call the company back when you have obtained the company’s number from a legitimate and trusted source.