Fraud & Scams

Scammers make a living by tricking others out of their money, and university students can often be targets of these scammers. They come up with smart, complex and sneaky ways of tricking people. As a university student, there are several ways in which fraudsters might try to trick you, and by being aware of them, you are in a better position to protect yourself. Some scams to watch out for are losted below.

Money muling

Money muling is when a criminal student is recruited on campus to target other students, asking to use their bank account to transfer criminal money across to other accounts, offering them a cut of the money. Engaging in money muling can lead to frozen bank accounts and sometimes even criminal charges. Find out more here.

Tuition Scams

International students often need to look out for this. Someone might offer you a discount on your tuition fees, or if you are confused about where to send the money, they might offer to send it through for you. More information on tuition scams and how to protect yourself here.

Fake police/visa/home office scams

As an international student, you might be contacted by a scammer pretending to be the police, home office or someone asking about your visa, saying they urgently need money or something bad could happen. They might say a family member is in custody and needs to be bailed out, or that you need to make a payment or you might be deported. They will put pressure on you to pay quickly to avoid consequences, and they might have gained information about you through your social media to make it more believable. More information here.

Fake HMRC tax refunds

You might be contacted by someone pretending to be HMRC, claiming to have a tax refund for you. They might ask for personal details in order to extract money from your bank account. Find out more here.

Rental Fraud

This is when a student is asked to pay a deposit on a house they are looking to rent, without having viewed the property. This often takes place when someone is looking for a place to live in a rush. More information here.

How do i protect myself against scams?

Just being aware of the different types of scams that exist is a great way to protect yourself against them. There are some tell-tale signs that a situation you are in could be a scam, these include:

  • Being contacted out of the blue from a number you don’t recognise
  • Being asked for personal details including bank details or passport number.
  • Being pressured to send money quickly.
  • Grammatical mistakes on emails or texts.
  • Something seemed too good to be true.

What to do if i think i'm being scammed?

If you think you might be in a proposition where someone is trying to scam you - immediately stop the communication and contact Gateway for your campus:

Alternatively, you can contact the Students Union at We can help and advise you to let you know if something seems suspicious or not right. If someone is calling claiming to be your bank, HMRC, the Home Office or anywhere else - hang up and call them back directly on their legitimate direct number, which you can find on their official websites.