Students warned to check accounts amid scamming fears
THE SUSI student grant scheme is asking every successful applicant to re-check their bank details before first payments are processed amid fears cyber hackers could access them.
Fraudulent emails were sent out last week by hackers with links to a copycat site that asked students to update their bank details, and now SUSI are worried the scammers could hack into details to send payments to fraud accounts.
The student support scheme will email every successful applicant prior to them receiving their first grant instalment on September 25, asking to make sure all details included in their SUSI accounts are correct and have not been altered.
Head of Communications at SUSI, Graham Doyle, said that it’s only being undertaken as a precautionary measure and they have received no reports of tampering with student details.
“We write to students every year before they get paid in September, to remind those who haven’t yet put in their bank details to do so.
“Now, as an added measure, we’ll ask students to also make sure the bank details entered are correct,” said Mr Doyle.
“We’ve had absolutely none of our students say that they’ve even received that email, so we’ve got no reason to believe that it is an issue – but we’re taking extra precautions,” he said.
The bogus emails sent out last Friday provided a link to a fake site, and caused SUSI to shut down its banking section for four days. SUSI were made aware of the scam when two non-applicants reported receiving the email.
The link asked users to provide their username and password, then proceeded to request bank details. It asked for the bank account number, PPSN number, sort code and date of birth of the applicant.
Mr Doyle told the Herald that any official emails sent out to students will provide no link to the website, adding the official SUSI website has a secure lock on the browser which cannot be replicated by fraudulent sites.
“We never send an email asking students to send us back their bank details and won’t be linking students to the site,” he said.
Mr Doyle added that the scam had been reported to the gardai and the Data Protection Commissioner, with the latter satisfied with the warning measures taken by SUSI.
He also said students wishing to receive their first grant payment on September 25 must lodge their details at least one week prior to payment.