Keep your financial aid refund safe from scammers

College students like you are targeted by scammers who design emails and websites replicating university resources, with real phone numbers, photos and logos, to trick you into providing personal information. This is known as phishing and just one attempt could affect your financial aid refund if you fall for it.

What to look for

You may receive an email that says you have unpaid tuition or other fees that need to be paid immediately. Scammers will include a link to a fake login page that is designed to capture your AccessID and password, which they then use to log in to your account and edit your direct deposit information so that your refund is sent to them instead.


An example of a phishing scam.


What to do

C&IT recommends the following steps to confirm if an email is legitimate.

  • Check the sender: Scammers will typically use emails that contain Wayne State, financial aid, tech support or help desk in the username, but arefrom an external email account (e.g.—Wayne State will only contact you from a email address.

    Even if you receive an email from a email address, it may not be legitimate. When scammers gain access to one person’s account, they will often use it to send the phishing email to other accounts. Be wary of emails that come from individuals instead of group accounts (, etc.).
  • Check the links: Wayne State will not email you a link and ask you to provide your login information. If you receive a suspicious email, go directly to the website instead of clicking the link. You can also hover your cursor over the link (or tap and hold on the link on mobile) and view where it goes, but it almost always leads to a fake website. 

    Example of a fake link:              Example of a legitimate link:
    An example of a fake phishing emailsA good example of a phishing link
  • Check Academica: Your financial aid information and bills are available in the student tab, and you can go there to confirm if you have a balance.  

If you are the victim of a phishing attack, have issues with your financial aid refund, or are just suspicious of a certain email, please contact the C&IT Help Desk or Student Accounts Receivable.

  • The Student Accounts Receivable office: Student Accounts Receivable employees will look at your account and view your balance or refund status and confirm if you owe the university money. If you think someone has changed your direct deposit bank information, check Academica to verify that it is accurate. If this information is incorrect, contact the Student Accounts Receivable office at 313-577-3653. 
  • The C&IT Help Desk: C&IT Help Desk employees see many phishing attempts each year and are trained to identify them. If you believe you have been a victim of a phishing attempt, us immediately at 313-577-4357. If you receive a phishing attempt you know to be fake, please forward it to our security staff at

National Cyber Security Awareness Month (NCSAM) – observed every October – was created as a collaborative effort between government and industry to ensure every American has the resources they need to stay safer and more secure online.

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