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Scam Warning – Vouchers for Free School Meal Students

We are aware of scammers trying to extract bank account details.

They claim to be from the government voucher scheme and will pay you into your account the value of the vouchers that are being issued to Free School Meal students.

This, or any variation on this theme, is a SCAM.

No school, academy or government official would ever ask you to do this.

DO NOT PASS ON YOUR BANK DETAILS OR PASSWORDS TO ANYONE.

Also be careful about Phishing:

Cyber criminals are preying on fears of the coronavirus and sending ‘phishing’ emails that try and trick users into clicking on a bad link. Once clicked, the user is sent to a dodgy website which could download malware onto your computer, or steal passwords. The scams may claim to have a ‘cure’ for the virus, offer a financial reward, or be encouraging you to donate.

Like many phishing scams, these emails are preying on real-world concerns to try and trick people into doing the wrong thing.

Spotting potential phishing emails

If you haven’t clicked any links in the email, that’s good. Until you’re certain that the sender is genuine, you should not follow any links, or reply.

The next thing to do is try and identify whether the email is a scam, or genuine.

Here’s some tips on spotting phishing emails:

  • Many phishing emails have poor grammar, punctuation and spelling;
  • Is the design and overall quality what you’d expect from the organisation the email is supposed to come from?
  • Is it addressed to you by name, or does it refer to ‘valued customer’, or ‘friend’, or ‘colleague’? This can be a sign that the sender does not actually know you, and that it is part of a phishing scam;
  • Does the email contain a veiled threat that asks you to act urgently? Be suspicious of words like ‘send these details within 24 hours’ or ‘you have been a victim of crime, click here immediately’. Don’t reply. Take a second to gather your thoughts be taking any action;
  • Look at the sender’s name. Does it sound legitimate, or is it trying to mimic someone you know?
  • If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. It’s most unlikely that someone will want to give you money, or give you access to a secret part of the Internet;
  • Your bank, or any other official source, should never ask you to supply personal information from an email;
  • Try to check any claims made in the email through some other channel. For example, by calling your bank to see if they actually sent you an email or doing a quick Google search on some of the wording used in the email.

If you believe that the email is malicious, please inform your school’s IT support team, then delete the email.

What to do if you have already clicked?

The most important thing to do is not to panic. There are number of practical steps you can take:

  • Open your antivirus (AV) software if installed, and run a full scan. Follow any instructions given;
  • If you’ve been tricked into providing your password, you should change your passwords on all your other accounts.
  • Contact your internet provider and let them know.
  • If you have lost money, you need to report it as a crime to Action Fraud. You can do this by visiting www.actionfraud.police.uk

Please take care and stay safe