Students conned out of loans in fake email swindle

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AROUND 50 students in Yorkshire are believed to have been conned by a suspected email scam which has seen their loan payments go missing after they were tricked into giving their personal details.

The victims are thought to have responded to a bogus email claiming to be from Sheffield Hallam University informing students that they could qualify for extra financial support.

The students were asked to supply personal information to see if they were eligible to receive a new bursary.

An investigation is underway to establish how this information was used to change the details on 50 loan payments which were due to go into the undergraduates’ accounts last month.

Maintenance loans are paid to students three times a year and it is feared that tens of thousands of pounds could have been diverted through the suspected scam.

South Yorkshire Police, the university and the Students Loan Company are now investigating.

Sheffield Hallam is also working to support students suffering financial hardship as a result of the loans not reaching their accounts.

A spokeswoman for the university said: “We are aware that some of our students may have been targeted in a phishing scam, which may have affected their funding with the Student Loans Company.”

Both the university and the Students Loan Company have confirmed that around 50 students are believed to have been affected.

A statement from the company said: “Students at Sheffield Hallam University have alerted us to a scam which may have resulted in their personal details being accessed by a third party.

“We are working with the university to investigate the extent of this and the police have been informed. To ensure that we minimise the risk of further incidents, we have put in place additional security measures.

“We understand the university has put in place support measures that will assist any student who may be at risk of financial hardship as a result of this.”

Caroline Dowd, president of the Students’ Union at Sheffield Hallam University, has warned students not to hand out their personal details. South Yorkshire Police has urged any students who have been affected to contact them on 0114 2202020.