NSFAS Stops Communicating To Students ‘Directly’ Via SMS Due To Scams

“Over the past two weeks . . . students have been targeted in phishing email and text message scams that aim to compromise personal data,” according to a post from the Scheme’s Twitter account.

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Gaby Ndongo

The National Student Funding Scheme (NSFAS) will no longer send SMSs to first-time applicants, returning and continuing students in 2019 as “direct” means of communication due to recurring scams.

This is according to the funding scheme’s recent posts, both on Twitter and Facebook. “Over the past two weeks . . . students have been targeted in phishing email and text message scams that aim to compromise personal data.

“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,” the post read.

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NSFAS has partnered up with law enforcement entities to investigate the scams. However, “Any SMS messaging regarding funding received following this message (social media post) will be from fraudsters and NOT NSFAS,” Dr Randall Carolissen, NSFAS Administrator, is quoted in the post.

He suggests that the scams are likely a result of the increased NSFAS applications for 2019 academic year. In a Radio 702 report, the administrator said NSFAS has approved more than 240 000 new applications of over 400 000 applications received for this year.

He further cited that the case of 100 000 rejected applicants are being reviewed. “There are indications that quite a number of them will qualify,” Dr Carolissen said. Special consideration will be provided for TVET colleges students due to the availability of space in these institutions.

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The national funding scheme’s website and Twitter account will be used as primary sources of official announcements, while myNSFAS Online Self-Service Portal is to assist with any funding related matter from one’s application status to fees.

NSFAS Contact Centre can also be used as “Centre Agents will ensure that suitable precautions are being taken and key security questions are asked to positively identify the person contacted and to build trust,” the post explained. TOJ

To inquire, contact NSFAS on 08000 67327 or send an email to RandallC@nsfas.org.za

Reporting by Gaby Ndongo.

Feature image: NSFAS illustration.

Image courtesy to Gaby Ndongo.

5 comments on “NSFAS Stops Communicating To Students ‘Directly’ Via SMS Due To Scams”

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