Protecting you and your information is paramount to Student Finance. We have partnered with 'Get Safe Online' to promote online safety and security.
www.getsafeonline.org has useful information, and helpful advice about online safety.
Identifying a phishing email
There are certain things you can look for that could help you to identify a phishing email.
1. What the email asks for and when it's sent
- ask you to confirm your bank details or login information by email
- send you a text message asking you to click a link or confirm information about yourself
Phishing scams are most common in September, January and April - the 3 main instalment payment months.
2. How the email is written
- often contain misspelling, poor punctuation and bad grammar
- can use greetings like 'Dear Student'
3. The kind of website the email links to
Make sure you're using a secure website when submitting credit card or other sensitive information. Check the URL contains 'https://' or the padlock icon is shown.
Your email address
Don't give out your email address on any social networking pages you have - hide it, where possible.
Tell us if you think you've received a phishing email
If you think you've received a communication that's suspicious or are concerned about the safety of your account, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
If you've responded to a phishing email, change your account password and forward the email to our security team at email@example.com
Please note, we can't respond to all emails sent.
The Student Loans Company will:
- never ask you to update your bank details.
- never send you a request to update your password or secret answer, unless you've asked us to reset these.
- never ask you to click a link but will always ask you to type the address yourself: https://www.gov.uk/student-finance.
- never provide you with a choice of secret question when you log in. We will only ever ask you the question you selected.
- never ask you to provide your full secret answer. We will only ever ask you for specified characters from it.
Passwords and Secret Answers
When you register with Student Finance, we provide you with a Customer Reference Number (CRN). This is unique to you, and you should quote this if you ever need to contact us.
If you register with Student Finance online, you'll choose your own password and secret answer when you create your account. You can use these, with your email address or CRN to log in to your online account.
If you didn't register online, but sent us a paper application form, we'll create an account for you and provide you with a temporary password and secret answer. When you first log in to your online account, you'll be asked to change these to a password and secret answer of your own choice.
You can reset your password and secret answer at any time by using our online service. Always, choose a password and secret answer that you will remember, but will not be easily guessed by anyone else.
Safely accessing our service
Our website is designed to ensure that when you access your account or send us information it is secure.
When you log in and access your online account, you are protected by a secure encrypted session. You will see the web address starting 'https' rather than just 'http' and a small padlock icon in the status bar at the bottom of your browser window.
Always log out of our site when you have finished using it, and close the browser window. This ensures that your user session is closed properly.
We recommend that when you visit our site that you type the https://www.gov.uk/student-finance address into your browser. This ensures you are going to the correct site and not a spoof or fraudulent site.
Protecting Your Computer
Update your Operating system
Regularly check that your computer's operating system and the running software on it is up to date.
Most operating systems have an update facility which will automatically update their software on your computer.
For other software packages or programs you use, visit the manufacturer's website for available updates.
Install an Anti-Virus Scanner
A good anti-virus scanner will check incoming emails and files you open.
New viruses are discovered daily by anti-virus makers so it is important that you update the 'definition files' (the list of viruses the scanner knows about) every 2 or 3 days.
Install a Firewall
A firewall is an essential barrier between your computer and the internet, preventing anyone connecting to your computer without your permission.
Most current computer operating systems, such as Mac OS X, Windows XP or Vista, have inbuilt firewalls. There are firewall products that can be downloaded from the internet. Make sure that your computer's firewall is active.
Beware of Viruses, spyware and malware
Any computer connected to the internet may be vulnerable to viruses, malware or spyware.
Viruses come in many forms; attached to emails, contained in innocent looking programs or spread by infected websites.
Viruses try to either damage your computer by removing important files or altering data, or to collect information about you and send it on to an unauthorised third party. Viruses may try to spread themselves by attempting to send themselves to your email contacts or other users of file-sharing sites.