Emmanouil Kamilakis, a 24-year-old student who will be starting a master’s degree programme at the Hanze University of Applied Sciences this autumn, was scammed into paying 2,000 euros in fake tuition fees by a convincing email.
Translation by Traci White
According to the Groninger Internet Courant, Kamilakis, who is from Crete, received an email from firstname.lastname@example.org requesting that he pay 2,000 euros in tuition fees, including his student number. The official email address for student administration at the university of applied sciences is email@example.com – the fake email address has a letter “L” after the word “hanze”.
The email layout and language looked credible, so Kamikalis went ahead and paid the fee. But when he officially enrolled at the Hanze, he discovered that the academic institution had not received his payment.
Dagblad van het Noorden reports that the email Kamilakis responded to was sent by someone posing as an employee of the Hanze. Kamilakis says that he momentarily questioned the request because the associated bank account was located in Italy, but he figured that the Hanze may have an international account due to having a fairly large Italian student population and needing to handle their payments.
The Hanze says that this appears to be an isolated phishing incident. Jorien Bakker, spokesperson for the University of Groningen, told the Dagblad that although there have been a number of cases of students being tricked into paying for fake rooms, there have been no reports of any tuition fee scams at the RUG. Local police declined to say whether there had been any comparable incidents brought to their attention.
Foreign students are not the only potential targets for housing scams: an incoming foreign employee at UMCG was tricked out of hundreds of euros for an apartment that was not actually available to rent. On a national level, a number of international employees have been the targets of attempted blackmail scams claiming that their legal paperwork was not in order, complete with threatening phone calls appearing to come from official government agencies.
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