HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) have warned students across the UK to be cautious after a rise in phishing emails designed to steal their money and personal details.
Fraudsters are targeting students with a range of different scams, including sending fake tax refunds from what appears to be an official university email address.
Using seemingly legitimate university email addresses such as ' ac.uk', the crooks can evade detection and successfully trick the user into believing they are receiving authentic correspondence from the university.
The emails include the branding of HMRC, and the recipient’s name is mentioned several times throughout the email to add further weight to the fraudulent message.
If the student clicks on the link within the email, they are directed to a phishing website where they are instructed to enter their personal details alongside their banking information.
The fraudsters will then use the data to steal money from the victim’s bank account or they’ll sell the information on to other criminals.
Over 620,000 tax-related email scams were reported to HMRC last year, up 20,000 on the previous year.
Students, particularly freshers, are proving to be a very attractive target for these types of phishing scams due to the wealth of information they receive about university courses, log-in details, and events taking place across campus.
The crooks will methodically do their research and slip well-crafted phishing emails in amongst legitimate university correspondence in the hopes of tricking vulnerable students.
Some of the more common scams targeting students include:
To deal with the onslaught of scams that are being used to target them, HMRC has provided some advice to students on how they can avoid being scammed:
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