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Scams are on the rise
– how can you avoid them?

University is a huge investment of your time and your money. From your fees to your accommodation, your living costs, and the equipment you need for your studies, every penny counts. So, with scammers targeting students, it is important not to get caught out.

06 Jul 2022

More than ever, university students are being targeted by scammers – especially international students in very threatening ways – and so we’ve put together these warning signs to look out for.

And remember, if you think you’ve received a scam email, text message or call, let us know so we can warn others.

For international students

There have been many reports of scams targeting international students – and we do not want you to be a victim.

For international students most scams take place in a telephone call. The caller will pretend to be from a bank, the UK Home Office, an embassy, an education agent or a delivery company.

In most cases these calls are threatening, demanding money for an immigration problem that does not exist, selling fake products like insurance or claiming you will be deported or face criminal consequences if you do not pay.

We must stress – if someone calls and demands this, end the call immediately. Do not give over any personal or financial information, like your bank details.

And please report it immediately to a member of UCA staff so we can help you tell the police and the UK Home Office.

If this happens to you, then we understand this may be a very frightening experience, especially if someone is threatening you, so please see our Gateway team as well for help and support.

For UK students

In the main, scams will arrive in your email inbox, or via text messages – sometimes they will try via a phone call.

They will appear to represent your bank, HMRC, Royal Mail or a delivery company, or sometimes other organisations (who hasn’t been told they’ve “been in an accident”!) will call. 

  • Text messages from scam organisations will come from a longform number that you don’t recognise and will often show a link that doesn’t look quite official. Text messages from official companies will specify the company name at the top and have an official URL (see images below). They mainly relate to orders and deliveries – so keep track of your online orders and if something doesn’t look quite right, trust your instincts.
  • Emails might look official on face value, and the name of the sender might look entirely accurate – HMRC, or Apple, for example – but before you do anything, hover your cursor over the sender’s name to reveal the email address – if it’s a scam it will likely be a long-winded address featuring many letters and numbers, rather than something more official and simple, like service@apple.com
  • Phone calls will likely come from a number you do not recognise, or show “no caller ID” – you can choose not to answer (if they really want to speak to you then they can leave a voicemail!) or, when you answer be aware of how long it takes for the call to “connect”. Often cold or scam calls will have a delay – if this happens, it is highly likely to be a scam. Hang up and block the number. Never give any information across. 

And remember:

  • If your instincts give you reason to be suspect – trust them.
  • NEVER give your personal or financial information over the phone or click any links to verify your details.
  • NEVER confirm that any information a call, email or text has is correct
  • NEVER make a payment over the phone
  • Report any suspicious calls or messages you get to a member of staff at UCA, and we’ll help you report it to the police (and the Home Office if you are an international student)
  • You can also report it online here
  • If you are an international student, you should also report it by emailing visaadvice@uca.ac.uk

Be vigilant and be safe, and remember, we are here to help you with all your money matters – visit our Gateway teams across our campuses.