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Students of NSFAS getting targeted by Phishing Scams


The malicious cyber attackers recently tried gaining access to financial aid of students' at numerous tertiary institutions in the scheme which involves sending fraudulent SMSes and emails to students, as per the warning issued by NSFAS (National Student Financial Aid Scheme).


First-time applicants, continuing and the returning students were targeted in the phishing email as well as text message scams, which aim to compromise the personal data, the NSFAS has warned. Kagisho Mamabolo, spokesperson of NSFAS, said that the scams were spotted in the last two weeks (i.e. in December-end of 2018 and early part of January 2019).


NSFAS said that they have identified scams where the fraudsters tried students to provide confidential information through a link to a website that is controlled by attackers. The unidentified attackers posing as representatives of NSFAS are sending out emails asking the progressing students as well as the applicants to update account information by clicking the embedded link. NSFAS Administrator, Dr Randall Carolissen, said that they found out fraudulent messages going to the applicants during festive season. The text message or email scam was designed to appear like the regular message that was issued by NSFAS contact centre.


Dr Carolissen said that "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, Mamabolo said NSFAS with immediate effect will not directly communicate with its students through SMS channels during 2019 academic year. Kagisho Mamabolo said "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. Any SMS regarding funding received from now on will be from fraudsters not NSFAS". It advised the students to use only myNSFAS Online Self-Service Portal for viewing the status of application or any other type of information related to funding.


For the time-being, security steps were implemented. Additionally, NSFAS is working with the law-enforcement agencies for investigating the scams.


» SPAMfighter News - 1/17/2019

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