back to article Six cuffed in £1m student readies phishing probe

Scotland Yard's cybercrime crackdown squad has cuffed suspected crims accused of masterminding a phishing scam that netted more than £1m in cash from hundreds of unsuspecting students. The Met's Police Central e-Crime Unit (PCeU) began an investigation in August after a tip-off that students signed up to a government loan scheme …

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FAIL

No one in their right mind would fall for this type of scam; but then we ARE talking about UK teenagers.

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FAIL

Yeah yeah yeah.

Every time there's scam of this sort affecting thousands of people some smug self satisfied type posts how they have to be idiots to fall for it, suggesting that they somehow deserve it.

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Actually, if done right

this could probably be a pretty convincing phishing scam.

For a start, the student loans scheme seems to operate under various guises, and various domain names, not all of which are .gov.uk domains either (Student Loans Company, Student Finance Direct, Student Finance England etc). So it wouldn't be that hard to register a convincing sounding .co.uk domain and knock up a pretty convincing website.

It doesn't say how the money was extracted from bank accounts, but getting sort codes and account numbers would probably not arouse too much suspicion, since that is how student loans are paid. Getting usernames and passwords for online banking would probably be harder, but if done in a convincing enough manner I suspect a fair proportion could be persuaded to hand these over. Perhaps debit card details would be easier to obtain ("Enter your sort code and account number here. Thank you. As a final check, to enable us to validate your identity, please fill in your Visa Debit or Maestro card number, expiry date, and card security code.).

Even if only a small percentage fall for it, the scammer would be quids in - and it is surely more convincing than those "XYZ Bank asks you to confirm your details at www.xyzbank.bankonlinetoday.example.com" type phishing emails.

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Anonymous Coward

Well they've learnt something at least.

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aparrently 1/4 of all the people in the country have fallen for this sort of thing... which makes my mind boggle... I know a lot of people, across all age groups, with varing degrees of IT savvy and stupididty, but I have yet to hear of anyone personally falling for this sort of crap!

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@Ian Emery

Oh, how witty. Let's all knock teenagers, especially UK ones apparently. It might be that there are a number of useless degree courses but probably less than you imagine. As UK universities are consistently ranked as being amongst the best in the world then I think you'll find UK teenagers, who still outnumber overseas students, must be suitably intelligent enough to attend. Obviously your main source of information might lead you to believe otherwise.

One ray of sunshine is that you are confident enough to believe you will never fall for a scam. On the downside, over confidence is the easiest type to shatter.

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Anonymous Coward

Intelligent enough to attend uni?

The idea that you need to be intelligent to attend uni in the UK is long since gone, with governments wanting 50% of kids to go.

I work with various graduates who have proven their intelligence with things like:

- Not knowing New Zealand is in the southern hemisphere.

- Not knowing the different between "was doing nothing" and "weren't doing nothing"...and not caring.

- Struggling with the difference between 'their', 'there' and 'they're'.

- Not understanding why a crappy sign in out office reading how we have a culture of "exceeding our customer's expectation" is wrong, given we have more than one customer.

- Not understanding which direction the traffic is screwed on the M25 when the description is given as clockwise or anticlockwise.

- Thinking there are and never will be any implications from vomiting your whole life up on to Facebook.

- Wearing Ugg boots.

There may be easier groups to fall for a scam, of course, but there's certainly groups that would be harder.

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Re: Intelligent enough to attend uni?

And I suppose at 18 you knew everything.

I would guess, given the content of some comments on here, that quite a few of your examples do not only apply to potential students. Something you missed off your list is the difference between of and have which seems to crop up in here with frightening regularity.

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Anonymous Coward

RE: Intelligent enough to attend uni?

"There may be easier groups to fall for a scam, of course, but there's certainly groups that would be harder."

You were going so well until the very end...

There may be easier groups to fall for a scam, of course, but there are certainly groups that would be harder.

Is that smug glow still keeping you warm?

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Inside job?

It sounds like spear phishing, so where did the email addresses come from?

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I got that email...

It was so badly done, it's a wonder even those few fell for it.

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Anonymous Coward

Financial selections

Can I suggest we stop providing student loans to those that fell for the scam? Guessing those that didn't aren't bright enough to graduate uni with enough clout to pay back their debts...

AC as I'm still paying back my own SLC account (although will be clear in <5yrs post graduating)

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Childcatcher

Warnings against this sort of stuff need promoting more, starting with schools

I keep trying to persuade my parents to get online but I have my doubts that they wouldn't fall for something like this either without prior instructions from me.

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This should be part of any University entrance procedure.

"Sorry, you fell for a phishing scam? You are not University material."

Students are supposed to be smart people but have been mis-sold their future by 14 years of labour. 50% of kids to go to University? Ridiculous idea. Let the smart 10% go, close the crap Universities that offer surfing/flower arranging/Gaga studies and then we can finally scrap tuition fees. As it is now though, damn right students should pay a fortune for, what is to a lot of students, a three year jolly.

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Anonymous Coward

@yoinkster

I did a Physics degree 81-84, you know, a real subject before they started to make them easy but no doubt everyone says that. I didn't pay a penny in fees, got a grant and because I lived more than seven miles from the university my travel was paid for as well. That was a three year jolly.

If I'd had to pay I probably wouldn't have gone however if I did I'm damn sure I wouldn't have wasted my time as much as I actually did and certainly wouldn't have considered it a three year jolly.

I'd just like to know how the hell you can consider getting 18000GBP (~3000 fees + 3000 accommodation * 3 years) soon to be >36000 in debt to be a jolly. Spending three years on social security bumming around maybe but voluntarily putting yourself in debt definitely not.

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name and shame

name them!!!!!!!!

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It's easy to laugh at students

... and great fun for all the family, too !

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Silver badge

Is it really necessary to add the word 'cyber' to anything that happens on the internet? Criminals are criminals, regardless of what technology they use.

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University = YTS 2

@yoinkster - I suspect the politico that came up with the idea of getting the unemployed to fork out 50 grand to keep themselves off the unemployment figures is one of the 10% who deserved to go !

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Anonymous Coward

They can run...

...but they can be found. Enjoy the Iron Bar Hotel.

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Arlo.

Watt's a student.

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