By Clara Gaspar
Durham Students at risk of scam emails HM Revenue and Customs has warned that hundreds of thousands of University students have been sent fake tax refund emails in the last month.
Durham students were among those listed as particularly at risk.
In a bid to steal personal details from students, the fake emails claim that the recipient is due a tax rebate from HMRC.
The email then redirects students to websites where their information can be stolen.
The scammers have been using .ac.uk email addresses that appear to be legitimate, in order to avoid detection.
HMRC have stated that such a tax-scam attack directly targeting university students in such high numbers is unprecedented.
Mel Stride, MP and financial secretary to the Treasury, said: “HMRC will never inform you about tax refunds by email, text or voicemail.
“If you receive one of these messages it is a scam. Do not click on any links in these messages, and forward them to HMRC’s phishing email address [email@example.com]
“Although HMRC is cracking down hard on internet scams, criminals will stop at nothing to steal personal information. I’d encourage all students to become phishing aware – it could save you a lot of money.”
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.”
Students across the country have been affected by the scam, officials have warned that the following universities, in particular, should take action to make their students aware of the problem:
Aberdeen, Bristol, Cambridge, Durham, Imperial College London, King’s College London, Manchester Metropolitan, Newcastle, Nottingham, Plymouth, Queen Mary (London), Queen’s (Belfast), Southampton, Sussex, University College London, Warwick.
Students at Durham University have been subject to various online scams in recent months.
In July, students were also made aware of phishing emails that appeared to be from their university’s Finance Department claiming they had been awarded a grant.
Photograph: Durham University