June 22, 2024
Education 2.0 Conference

Education is an invaluable resource, allowing students of all ages to build better futures. But unfortunately, as technology advances, it is increasingly easy for fraudsters to exploit the education sector through social engineering fraud. As this type of fraud is highly destructive and can severely compromise a person’s financial stability and personal security, Education 2.0 Conference discusses it in its Winter Edition to create awareness in the education sector for 2023. In this article, we will explore the various techniques fraudsters use to carry out social engineering fraud in the education sector.

What Is Social Engineering Fraud?

Social engineering fraud is an attack on people rather than computers or networks. It is a cyber attack that exploits people’s psychological weaknesses to manipulate them into divulging sensitive information, making financial transfers, or completing other fraudulent actions. Social engineering attacks can take various forms, but phishing is the most common type used in the education sector. Education 2.0 Conference shares that phishing is a form of fraud where attackers use fake websites or emails to trick victims into entering their personal information or making fraudulent financial transactions.

Exploiting Trust

Social engineering fraudsters prey on the trust students and their families place in educational institutions. In order to do so, educators at the Education 2.0 Conference shared stories where fraudsters often masquerade as legitimate organizations in the sector or pose as authoritative figures. For example, fraudsters may impersonate staff from universities, claiming that students must update their personal information for course registration. Another example could be pretending to be a representative of an exam board and asking for confidential payment details.

A Growing Problem

As more educational institutions embrace digital technology, social engineering fraud is becoming more commonplace. This is especially worrying since identity theft can lead to stolen funds, identity documents being used to obtain credit, and data being leaked online. Additionally, the Education 2.0 Conference addressed that online courses are particularly vulnerable to phishing scam offenses since participants do not have the same face-to-face security protections as traditional classrooms.

Preventing Social Engineering Fraud

Educational institutions can take steps to protect their students and staff from social engineering fraud. Let’s discuss the steps highlighted at the Education 2.0 Conference to protect students and staff from fraud. 

Protecting Students

  • Universities, colleges, and schools must implement strategies to protect their students from becoming victims of social engineering scams. 
  • Students should be educated about the signs of fraud and provided with guidance on how to spot and avoid them. 
  • Universities and schools should ensure they have secure online payment systems and put measures in place to prevent phishing emails from reaching students. This may include setting up filters on email systems or encouraging students to be suspicious of suspicious emails. 
  • Additionally, institutions should use multi-factor authentication to prevent unauthorized access to student records.

Protecting Staff

  • The staff members of universities, colleges, and schools are just as vulnerable to social engineering scams as their students, and schools need to implement strategies to protect them. 
  • As with students, staff should be provided with education about the signs of fraud and guidance on how to spot and avoid them. 
  • The institution should also have robust security measures, such as data encryption, regular password changes, and a secure login process, to protect staff from malicious activity.

Key Takeaways

Social engineering fraud is a growing problem in education, with criminals exploiting people’s trust and psychological weaknesses to carry out their malicious schemes. One can attend education conferences in 2023, like the Education 2.0 Conference planned in the USA and Dubai, and learn about the latest solutions and strategies to avoid such fraud and scam offenses. 


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