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National Fraud Intelligence Bureau Alert for Education establishments

Fraudsters are calling education establishments claiming to be from the Department of Education. They then ask to be given the personal email and/or phone number of the head teacher/financial administrator. The fraudsters claim they need to send guidance forms to the head teacher (these so far have varied from exam guidance to mental health assessments). The scammers on the phone will claim that they need to send these documents directly to the head teacher and not to a generic school inbox, using the argument that they contain sensitive information.

The emails will include an attachment - a .zip file (potentially masked as an Excel or Word document). This attachment will contain ransomware, that once downloaded will encrypt files and demand money (up to £8000) to recover the files.

It should be noted that similar scam attempts have been made recently by fraudsters claiming to be from the Department for Work and Pensions and telecoms providers (in this case they need to speak to the head teacher about ‘internet systems’).

Protection / Prevention Advice

Having up-to-date virus protection is essential; however it will not always prevent you from becoming infected. Please consider the following actions:

  • Although the scammers may know personal details about the head teacher and use these to convince you they are a real employee, be mindful of where these have been obtained from, are these listed on your public facing website?
  • Please note that the “Department of Education” is not a real government department (the real name is the “Department for Education”).
  • Don’t click on links or open any attachments you receive in unsolicited emails or SMS messages. Remember that fraudsters can ‘spoof’ an email address to make it look like one used by someone you trust. If you are unsure, check the email header to identify the true source of communication.
  • Always install software updates as soon as they become available. Whether you are updating the operating system or an application, the update will often include fixes for critical security vulnerabilities.
  • Create regular backups of your important files to an external hard drive, memory stick or online storage provider. It’s important that the device you back up to aren’t left connected to your computer as any malware infection could spread to that too.

10 Ways to improve value for money

SFVS Results

A hugh thank you once again to all maintained schools for sending in their SFVS returns on a timely basis. The graph below shows how the questions were answered and the ten things that stood out when we analysed the results are in the table below.

2014/15 SFVS in numbers

Thank you to all eligible schools for submitting their SFVS return by the deadline and enabling HCC’s return to the Department for Education to be completed on a timely basis.

We have analysed the data and the headlines from the analysis is below.

We are still working on your feedback and will share suggestions of how to improve value for money in due course.

2013/14 SFVS in numbers

‘A huge thank you to the 442 eligible Hertfordshire schools which submitted their completed 2013/14 SFVS return by the deadline date.  The prompt submission of your forms enabled us to submit HCC’s SFVS Return for 2013/14 to the Department for Education a full 12 days before the submission date of 31 May 2014.’     

We analysed the data you submitted and share with you ‘SFVS in numbers ….Things We Learnt From the 2013/14 SFVS Returns.’

Watch this space for updates on the 2014/15 SFVS returns submission process. 

Any questions please e-mail SIAS@sias.hertfordhire.gov.uk