The National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) announced last week that, in the academic year of 2019, it will no longer communicate directly with students via SMS.
This decision will be effective immediately, the organisation confirmed.
The decision was taken after the scheme was targeted in phishing email and text message scams that aim to compromise personal data of students. The attackers were identified posing as NSFAS representatives and sending out emails requesting students to update their account information by clicking on an embedded link.
“NSFAS identified scams in which fraudsters lure students into providing confidential information via a link to a site controlled by the attackers. The email or text message scam is designed to look like it is a regular message issued by the NSFAS contact centre,” explained NSFAS in a statement last week.
The scheme has advised students to only use the myNSFAS online self-service portal to view their application status, or any other information relating to funding. Communication will only be done on the myNSFAS online self-service portal or via NSFAS contact centre.
“We would like to warn all 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 message regarding funding received following this message will be from fraudsters and not NSFAS,” adds NSFAS.
NSFAS contact centre agents will ensure that suitable precautions are taken and key security questions are asked to positively identify the correct student is contacted.
“We advice every student that NSFAS will never ask for your account details, password, PIN or OPT over the phone or via email,” they concluded.