So I got a phone call at 9am from Ben, so upset I couldn't tell what he was saying, so I had to ask him to breathe and repeat slowly. It seems that this morning he had what turned out to be a phishing email from someone pretending to be Student Finance England and he provided them with all the details they asked for (ouch!)... only to get an email a few mins later from the uni warning that a phishing email was going round, by which time it was too late. He was beside himself, so I calmed him down as best I could and called his bank to put a block on everything, followed by student finance. Then I grabbed my car keys and drove down to Sheffield where we spoke to student finance's fraud team and went to the uni branch of his bank to sort everything out. By lunchtime everything was duly sorted out. New bank account being set up and new student finance log-in, etc. Phew.
And I calmed Ben down, telling him that he wasn't to let these bastards mess everything up for him. No, he wasn't going to quit uni just because of some cyber criminals on the other side of the world. And everything was OK now, I repeated. They won't be able to access his account because it's been shut down. It could have happened to everyone. I told him about the time my credit card was cloned, for instance. These criminals are clever. Yes, the email and website looked identical to the student finance site because that's what phishing is. And I told him that neither the bank nor student finance would ever email to ask him to provide confidential information. Now, of course, he will be super-vigilant, which is a good skill to learn.
Another good life lesson learned is that often really crappy things can happen to mess up your plans. Like this morning he'd planned to go to this free shop where they distribute last year's 3rd years' unwanted household items. Instead we spent the morning doing the above. "But don't let them stop you from going on the treasure hunt this afternoon or the quiz night tonight," I said. "Just pick yourself up, dust yourself down, tell yourself it wasn't your fault and could have (and probably has) happened to anyone, and it's all fixed now."
I told him he was too strong to let evil people like this mess everything up. "I know you're strong and stubborn because of the way you boss me around at home!" I said with a smile and a hug. "Yes it's a bastard that it's happened to you of all people, but I imagine there are hundreds of students who have fallen for the same scam. At least we did exactly the right things and no harm has been done. Hassle, yes, but no harm."
And I had a sandwich with him in his room, and a coffee, then said my goodbyes so he could get ready for the treasure hunt.
Boy, was I knackered after that! And after yesterday.
At the moment he is so on edge and stressed that it's so easy to tip him over into distress/panic mode. But he has been on the treasure hunt and has PM'd me on FB to say it was good and he'll tell me about it on Friday when he comes home for the weekend. And he's still planning to go to the quiz night tonight and a comedy night a bit further afield tomorrow night.
And last night's Wargames/Warhammer meeting went well, thank God.
The Bad News is that this morning's stress got to him so badly that he felt compelled to go for a run in the park...
Anyway, the firefighting is over for a second day....