Sheffield & South Yorkshire

Sheffield students lose cash in e-mail scam

Dozens of students are feared to have lost thousands of pounds through an e-mail scam at a Sheffield university.

People studying at Sheffield Hallam University were contacted and told a "new-style bursary" was on offer and they should submit their name and national insurance number.

But weeks after applying for the non-existent cash, they found payments from their student loans had not arrived.

The university, police and the Student Loans Company are investigating.

The investigation is aiming to find out how security procedures were bypassed.

Final year business studies student James Hewitt said it was just a matter of weeks after replying to the e-mail asking for his details that cash went missing.

'Seemed genuine'

He said: "It [the e-mail] seemed like it was from Sheffield Hallam University and it was to my Sheffield Hallam University e-mail account as well.

"It said there was a grant available and I had to enter my details to see if I was eligible for it.

"It took me to a page where it asked me for my name and national insurance number

"When I opened it up, it seemed genuine, it seemed like it was from Sheffield Hallam University

"I popped my details in and didn't think anything of it"

New details

But after waiting three weeks and then realising an instalment payment of his student loan had not arrived, Mr Hewitt contacted the Student Loan Company.

The company told Mr Hewitt the money had been paid into a new bank account "with details supplied by him".

Caroline Dowd, president of the Students' Union at the university, said students should take care when asked for their details.

She said there were more than 50 students who had been taken in by the scam.

She said: "The biggest bit of advice I can give is don't put details into e-mails."

The university said it was aware of the problem and had asked police to investigate.

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