By Praveen Kannan and Anna Strokolyst The Hotspot Shield team believes the internet should be open and secure …
When you sign up for a private school, you don’t expect to be scammed for tuition money. But that’s exactly what happened to parents in the UK.
Fee-based private schools across the United Kingdom have been the target of a new cyber-attack.
The email addresses of the parents were hacked by criminals, and each parent received an email claiming that they could get a 25% discount on tuition fees if they paid using bitcoin. The potential savings would equate to many thousands of British pounds.
Of course, this wasn’t an email from the school; instead, it was sent by hackers in the hopes that a few unsuspecting parents would fall for the scam.
Numerous UK schools have notified parents to be on the lookout for scams like these, including the Royal Grammar School in Newcastle, England.
The UK’s Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has been looking into the scam after the Royal Grammar School’s headmaster, John Fern, notified police.
When it comes to phishing emails, most have numerous grammar, punctuation, and/or spelling errors. The fake email from the Royal Grammar School was no exception.
For starters, “cryptocurrency” is spelled wrong. You’ll also notice many other grammatical errors and poorly constructed sentences. Frankly, it’s pretty easy to spot that this is a scam.
Mr. Fern informed parents that the school would never ask for any bank information or money via email, especially in the form of bitcoin. He also stressed that there were no financial details stolen by the hackers—only email addresses.
As of now, we’re not aware of any parent that fell for the scam.
We also don’t know how many schools have been affected by tuition scams, or if they cross borders and affect parents in the U.S. The ICO says that it is not aware of any other phishing attacks targeting schools, but it’s the type of scam that could easily spread far and wide.