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Be More Scam Aware At University

Advice and guidance on how to protect yourself from fraud.

Keyboard spelling out scam
Don't get scammed

What are scams?

A scam is a criminal offence under the Fraud Act. It’s where someone tries to steal something from you, or defraud you.

Scams can appear in several different guises. They can come through your email inbox (“phishing”), phone, (“vishing”), social media accounts or letterbox. Scammers will use any possible means to get your money and/or personal information.

What scams to look out for in particular as a student?

Below is a list of the top scams targeted at students:

While there are many different scamming methods and ploys, there are a few key telltale signs. It’s also worth knowing how to avoid falling victim to phishing scams, which are often quite sophisticated emails that look like they’re from legitimate companies.

  • you’re contacted out of the blue
  • a deal that sounds too good to be true
  • you’re asked for personal details
  • you’re asked to make an immediate decision
  • obvious grammatical or spelling mistakes
  • you’re asked to keep something secret
  • no contact details are given to you or, at best, just a mobile phone number or PO Box address.

The UK Council for International Students highlight International Students may be more vulnerable. Read more here

Tuition Fee Fraud

The University has been made aware of a number of ongoing fraud and money-laundering schemes which target international students.

Fraudsters are connecting with students face to face or via social media platforms such as WeChat, Snap Chat, Telegram, Whatsapp and Facebook offering significant discounts and exceptional currency exchange rates when paying for tuition fees.

Students should not be attracted to these scams, they are usually illegal which could result in students being found guilty of facilitating money laundering as well as loosing huge sums of money.

Students are strongly advised to read and share the following document issued by the Police's Dedicated Card & Payment Crime Unit.

Fake Officials Phone Scam

In 2024, the University became aware of phone call scams whereby students are contacted by fraudsters posing as senior officials such as HMRC, the Home Office, University senior management or other government agencies.

The fraudsters state there are urgent issues with the student's bank account(s), tax affairs or VISA status and explain they are attempting to help the student. Students are persuaded their accounts are compromised and instructed to transfer funds to a 'safe' bank account to prevent any losses, students then never see their money again.

If you are contacted by any agency who fabricates a scenario that requires immediate action, simply ask them for their name and what department they work in, hang up and contact the organisation using a contact number on the organisation's official website.

More information from the University about Phishing and Fraud

What to do

If you receive a scam via any method you should report it to Action Fraud

If you receive a scam email, you need to tell the internet service provider (ISP) that was used to send you the email. If you receive a scam email that pretends to be from a company, let the genuine company know.

Ensure that your personal details and privacy are protected, in particular on social media. Please follow the advice on the University’s wiki pages.

Support at the University

Student Money Advice can offer advice and support if you do find yourself in financial hardship as the result of a scam, including how to apply to the University hardship fund or how to get a short-term loan.

The Student Support Advice Team can offer help if you if you have been the victim of a scam, as well as with any other welfare or wellbeing issue. Advisers are available every day of the week.

They can also refer you to our Wellbeing or Therapeutic Services & Mental Health teams.

Further advice

Follow the University’s guide on phishing and other scams.

The Get Safe Online website has general advice about staying safe online and information about telephone and other types of scams.

Money Helper also has further information about telephone scams.

More information including examples of the most recent phishing emails received, is available on the University's wiki pages.


If you have any questions, please contact us.

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