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The Student Loan Company Scam

If you took out a loan for your undergraduate or postgraduate degree, you probably used the Student Loan Company (SLC). Around 1.2 million students used SLC to pay their tuition fees, and receive maintenance loans in 2020/2021, with millions more continuing to pay off their fees today. Unfortunately, this is fertile ground for phishers, who have started scamming students and ex-students alike.

The Student Loan Company, and how it could be a gold mine for scammers

The Student Loan Company is a not for profit, non-departmental public body, which provides low interest loans to students, which are then paid back through an income-contingent repayment scheme; you pay back your loan based on your earnings. However, with these loans being repaid automatically through an employer, and often across multiple decades, many students aren’t keeping a close eye on their payments. Predictably, phishers have seen this as an opportunity to scam people out of their hard earned cash.

The Student Loan Company Scam

The Student Loan Company Scam starts with an email from something called SLC Investigations, informing students that they will be receiving a call from Student Finance England or the Student Loan Company, and that this call will be from a private number. Following this email, the recipient is contacted by telephone and asked to update their payment information so that their next repayment can go through. Upon providing their bank details, money can then be taken from the victim’s bank account, and the details can be sold on the dark web. 

One of the reasons why this scam has proven so effective is the initial email from the scammers. By delaying asking for payment details right away, they are convincing the victim of their legitimacy. They are also preparing the victim to receive a call from an unknown number to provide their payment details; something which ordinarily, many people would object to.

How did they get this information?

It’s important to state that the scammers masquerading as the Student Loan Company aren’t only sending this scam out to students. If one of the websites that you have used has been hacked, your email address and telephone number could have been obtained by scammers. Remember, millions of people have student loans that they are paying back; by sending this email to lots of people at once, they are maximising their chances of a recipient responding. 

You can check whether your email address has been involved in a data breach using the website

Keep yourself safe from the Student Loan Company Scam

For student loan repayments, students should remember that these are either automatically taken and organised through their employer, or paid as part of their tax within their self-assessment.

The Student Loan Company has also stated that, ‘they will never proactively contact students to verify bank details ahead of a payment date’. As with all scam emails, ensure that you do not click any links in the body of the email, and if you are in any doubt of the legitimacy of an email, contact the sender directly using a contact number that you have found yourself, rather than using the phone number in the body of the email - because that could also be fake.

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