UKCISA have some further useful advice on frauds and scams, and how you can protect yourself.
Fraud, tricks and scams
Unfortunately, some criminals try to get money from students, particularly our international students. Some of these scams will be very authentic and persuasive and it can be frightening. Please don’t give out any personal details, especially banking details.
Examples of recent scams that have targeted our students include:
- An international student received a hoax call from someone claiming to be from the Home Office who made threats including accusing the student of being involved in criminal activity, threatened deportation, having their qualifications nullified and accused the student of failing to register with a false scheme called the 'Alien Unique Identity Number'.
- An international student received a hoax phone call from someone claiming to be from the Home Office and was asked to share personal details.
- A student gave away their email login details through responding to a phishing email. A few months later, their email account had been hijacked and the hijacker impersonated the University to request the student pay tuition fee deposits.
- Committee members of a student society have been targeted with threatening Whatsapp messages.
If you’re contacted by someone and it seems unusual, unexpected or just odd, please end the call/communication. You should then contact us so we can offer you advice on what to do next. If the person who contacted you is genuine they won’t mind you checking this and then getting back to them.
We have some specific guidance on protecting yourself on social media.
If you receive an unexpected contact from someone who claims to be from the Home Office, it may be a scam. Do not respond to emails, and end any calls. Contact us as we can check with UKVI if this is geniune, or a scam.
UKVI recently released some guidance for students:
- Legitimate Home Office officials will never contact you and ask you to pay visa fees or fines over the phone.
- Home Office or UKVI officials will never ask you to pay visa fees or fines using iTunes gift cards, cryptocurrency or money transfer services. Never provide the numbers on the back of iTunes Gift Cards to someone you don't know.
- Always question unexpected requests for your personal or financial information in case it’s a scam. Even if someone knows your basic details, it doesn’t mean they are genuine.
- Trusted organisations won't pressure you to make a financial transaction on the spot. If something feels wrong, question it.
Fraudsters will say anything to make you think they are genuine callers. This can include telling you they are calling from the police or other authority. If you’re contacted by someone and it seems unusual, unexpected or just odd, please end the call/communication. You should then contact us who can offer you advice on what to do next. If the person who contacted you is genuine they won’t mind you checking this and then getting back to them.
Fraudsters might know your personal details, including your BRP or passport number, your date of birth and your address. This does not necessarily mean they are genuine. You should always end the call and contact us for help.
Some fraudsters are very clever at making themselves look geniune. They might ask you to call them back on a certain number, or their number or email address might look genuine. They miught ask you to check their contact details against a website, and it will match. This does not mean the caller is genuine. You should still end the call and seek our help to check the authenticity of the contact.