NSFAS students being targeted by phishing scams

04 January 2019 - 18:34
By staff reporter
NSFAS says it has detected phishing scams in its systems.
Image: Marianne Pretorius NSFAS says it has detected phishing scams in its systems.

First-time applicants‚ returning and continuing students have been targeted in phishing email and text message scams that aim to compromise personal data‚ the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) has warned.

The scams have been spotted over the past two weeks.

NSFAS said it identified scams in which fraudsters lured students into providing confidential information via a link to a site controlled by the attackers. The email or text message scam was designed to look like a regular message issued by the NSFAS contact centre.

“Unidentified attackers are posing as NSFAS representatives and sending out emails requesting applicants and progressing students to update their account information by clicking on an embedded link. We would like to warn all the applicants‚ students and parents to be aware of these fraudsters and take extra care when dealing with their personal information online or over the phone.”

Dr Randall Carolissen‚ NSFAS administrator‚ said: “We are seeing an increase in fraudulent activities‚ possibly due to the increase in the number of applications for 2019. We advise every student that NSFAS will never ask for your account details‚ password‚ Pin or OTP over the phone or via email.”

As a result‚ the agency would no longer be communicating directly with students via the SMS channels during the 2019 academic year‚ with immediate effect. It advised students to only use the myNSFAS Online Self-Service Portal to view application status or any other information relating to funding.

It cautioned: “Any SMS messaging regarding funding received following this message will be from fraudsters and not NSFAS.”

In the meantime‚ security steps are being implemented. In addition‚ NSFAS is working with law-enforcement agencies to investigate the scams.