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College students targeted in COVID-19 scams

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(WAFB) – Federal officials say a phishing scam aimed at college students is circulating in emails that claim to be from the “Financial Department” of certain universities.

The email tells the recipient to click on a link to get a message about COVID-19 economic stimulus payments. The link redirects the recipient to a portal link requiring a university login.

Officials say these scammers are hoping to learn the recipient’s user name, password, and other personal information, while possibly also downloading malware onto their device.

The following tips were offered to spot these types of scam:

  • Check it out. If you have concerns about an email, contact the sender directly. Look up their phone number or website yourself. Don’t click on a link. That way, you’ll know you’re not about to call a scammer or follow a link that will download malware.
  • Take a closer look. While some phishing emails look completely legit, bad grammar and spelling can be a tip-off to phishing. Another clue that the email is not really from your school: they use the wrong department name. In one example officials say they’re seen, the scammers called themselves the Financial Dept instead of the Financial Aid Department.

Report these types of schemes to law enforcement.

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