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WIU Financial Aid Warns of Phishing Campaign

September 4, 2018

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MACOMB, IL -- The Western Illinois University Office of Financial Aid would like to alert the Western community about a financial aid-related phishing scam currently targeting students' email accounts.

According to Terri Hare, director of WIU Financial Aid, Federal Student Aid (FSA) has identified a malicious phishing campaign that may lead to potential fraud associated with student refunds and aid distributions.

FSA reports that multiple institutions of higher education have reported that attackers are using a phishing email to obtain access to student accounts via higher education institutions' student portal. Upon gaining access, changes are made to student's direct deposit destination


Example phishing email:

Subject: Updated billing statement issued

Please view and confirm your UPDATED 2018 bill.

Bills should be paid in full by the due date, or you should enroll in one of the payment plan options found in your NAME OF FALSE PORTAL. All payment plans have an enrollment fee of $ per semester. Late fees of $ will be assessed for each missed due date. Information showing how to enroll and payment plan FAQs can be found under the student/parent portal ….

If you have any questions concerning your billing statement, contact the FALSE NAME/INFORMATION.


According to the U.S. Secret Service, protecting yourself against fraud and identity theft is simple: notify your bank or credit card company immediately if you have lost your card; do not put your credit card number or Social Security number on checks; do not give your credit card number or other personal numbers to anyone calling on the telephone or e-mailing offering you prizes or gifts; do not give your checking account number to people you do not know, even if they claim they are from your bank; and check bank statements carefully.

Members of the WIU campus community who have fallen victim to a phishing scam should contact the Office of Public Safety at (309) 298-1949.

Posted By: WIU News (
Office of University Relations