We recently learned college students are experiencing an increase in emails connected to scams. During these phishing attempts, students are asked for personal information which is then used for fraudulent action and identity theft. Specifically, these scams appear as though they are coming from a college’s Financial Aid department or other offices that are familiar to students.
Unfortunately, these scams are occurring at the same time in which LCCC is actively reaching out to you about access to financial supports and additional aid through federal and private sources.This message is intended as a guide to help you determine if a message you receive is legitimate and from LCCC, versus one that is associated with a scam or phishing attempt.
Please be Aware
- Emails and communications from LCCC come from @lorainccc.edu addresses and include @lorainccc.edu email addresses and website pages for more information about the message.
- If you receive a phone call from LCCC, the staff member will identify themselves by name (if they do not, please ask).
- Make sure to use your LCCC student email in communications with our teams, as this helps us verify you are communicating from a legitimate email address to which only you have the password to access
- Do not open attachments before checking the sender’s email address
- LCCC will never ask for your social security number or bank account information over email
What if I receive a message from the US Department of Education regarding my Financial Aid? Is this legitimate?
Many of our students receive forms of federal financial aid (from completing the FAFSA). While LCCC distributes federal aid on behalf of the US Department of Education/ Student Financial Aid (ED, or sometimes referred to as FSA), you may also receive communications about your FAFSA completion, grants and loans from the Department of Education itself. These emails should end with “.gov.” Our Student Financial Aid team can assist you in interpreting these messages and also verify that they are legitimate and coming directly from ED or FSA.
What to Look For: General Tips to Spot Phishing/ Scams:
Always look at the “from” email address and apply a “zero trust” mindset. Here are some examples of fraudulent sender email addresses:
EXAMPLE: “Financial-Aid” email@example.com
Notice the spammer is using Financial-Aid as the name but the email is actually from “firstname.lastname@example.org”. The college will never use a gmail, yahoo, AOL, email account to contact you.
Notice the spammer is using lorainccc.edu as the name to try to make the email look legitimate. However, the actual email is being sent from “box.com”. The college email will always be from “@lorainccc.edu” (at the end of the address).
EXAMPLE: <Financial Aid at lorainccc.edu> email@example.com
Notice the spammer is using <Financial Aid atlorainccc.edu> as the name to try to make the email look legitimate. However, the actual email is being sent from “st68721@gmail .com”. The college email will always be from “@lorainccc.edu” (at the end of the address).
In addition, one common thread in scam emails is a sense of urgency and the attempt to get you, the recipient, to reply or click through without stopping to ask yourself if the request is legitimate. Take a moment to verify the source or check with LCCC when in doubt about a message you have received.