Protecting yourself from scams and fraud
Scams are the fastest growing form of crime, so you need to know how to protect yourself against them.
What is a scam?
A scam can present itself in many ways, but it is usually designed to get hold of your money. A scammer may contact you through a phone call or email and will often ask you to transfer money
How can you spot a scam?
A scammer may call you and pretend to be from an official body such as:
- The Home Office
- An Embassy
- Your bank
- The Police
- The University
- Other government offices or services
The scammer will try to convince you that you need to transfer money to them, or ask you to pay in an unusual way such as through vouchers or via a transfer service. They will sometimes already know details about you and can sound very convincing, and they may try to use information they know about you to make you feel threatened.
Never provide personal information or agree to transfer money,or purchase gift cards if someone calls you. Official organisations would never ask you to do this.
Scams can also be online, and some are very sophisticated and hard to spot. Some will offer investments or services which offer great returns. When responding to job adverts or opportunities online, always do your research.
Be careful of online posts that offer a large amount of money - a scammer might ask you to allow them to transfer money to your bank account. This is a form of fraud where the victim is set up to take the consequences and is often related to money laundering.
Never share bank or personal details with someone you don’t know and trust.
A scammer may be from your home country or in the UK. They may take advantage of the fact that you may be new to a country, and unsure about how things work.
How can you protect yourself?
It is important to take steps to protect yourself from becoming a victim of a scam.
- Be suspicious of job adverts that offer the chance to earn quick and easy money. Stick to reputable job sites and remember that if something looks too good to be true, then it probably is.
- Don’t sign up for any opportunity without undertaking some proper research. E.g., Google any prospective employer, do they have an online presence? Are the contact details legitimate? Is it based overseas?
- Don’t engage with any online posts offering large sums of money.
- Don’t accept message requests from people you don’t know, and if you receive a message with a link to click from a friend, speak to them in person before you respond.
- Don’t share bank and personal details with anyone that you don’t know or trust – even among friends or family. If someone asks to 'borrow' your bank account, say no.
- Always remember that if you aren’t sure about the source of the money, it could have come from criminal activity, and you could unwittingly be laundering money and end up with a criminal conviction.
- If something doesn’t feel right about a call, or if you’re feeling pressured during a phone call, it’s always okay to end the call. If you want to check if the call was legitimate you can call them back through a known contact number from another phone.
There are some useful websites which can help you identify scams and take action to protect yourself:
How do you report a scam?
If you wish to report a scam, go to the Action Fraud website or call Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040.
Where to find support if you’re the victim of a scam
If you do fall victim to fraud and it is affecting you, your studies or your wellbeing, you can contact our welfare adviser at firstname.lastname@example.org.
You can also contact the Student Advice Centre email: email@example.com
Please note it is not always possible to get your money back and any financial help available from the University would be very limited.
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