Students on financial aid are being targeted in phishing attacks

By Susan Svrluga, The Washington Post

Malicious attackers have recently tried to gain access to students’ financial aid refunds at multiple colleges in a scheme that involves sending fraudulent emails to students, according to a warning issued by the Education Department.

The target is federal student aid refunds, money distributed to students after tuition and other education costs are paid.

The U.S. Education Department’s Office of Federal Student Aid received multiple reports from colleges and universities about the phishing campaign targeting student email accounts, a department spokesman said on background. Authorities declined to identify the schools that reported the attacks.

“The Department thought it was prudent to notify institutions about this scheme via an electronic announcement to schools and by posting this alert on the Information for Financial Aid Professionals website,” a department spokesman said.

The attacks begin with a phishing email sent through a college’s password-protected website for students, department officials wrote. It is an email intended to fraudulently extract personal information.

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