What is a scam?
Unfortunately, as students, you may find yourself being targeted by scams trying to steal your money, personal
information or data.
Where might scams happen?
Scams can occur via telephone, email, text message, physical visits to your house, post, online or via social
This might be targeted at your personal accounts or your university accounts.
How can I spot a scam?
The goal with scams is to make it as least obvious possible. They are getting more sophisticated and harder to
Our top tips of things to be suspicious of:
- If something seems too good to be true, it probably is.
- If you’re contacted by someone you don’t know asking for your bank details or personal information (like
passwords or PINs).
- If you’re being emailed from a suspicious email address – the email addresses will likely be filled with
random letters, numbers or punctuation.
- If there is a sense of urgency to hand over money or something else.
- You've been asked to pay in an unusual way like paying your tuition fees via an intermediary (“middle-man”)
rather than directly to the university.
- You haven't had written confirmation of what's been agreed.
- Not personalised or directly addressed to you (Dear Sir/ Madam, Hi, Hello etc.).
- Bank emails or texts not including your Account or Customer Service Numbers.
Follow Take 5 To Stop Fraud Advice on how to
identify a scam and avoid becoming victim to fraud.
- STOP – Take a moment to stop and think before parting with your money or information.
- CHALLENGE – Could it be fake? It is ok to reject, refuse or ignore any requests. Legitimate organisations
will not rush you or try to cause panic.
- PROTECT – Contact your bank immediately if you think you have fallen for a scam and report it to Action
What can I do to protect myself against scams?
An extra layer of security to ensure the identity of the individual logging
into an account. Following entering your username and password, there will be an additional
level of security
(such as a pin, receiving a text with a one-time passcode, or perhaps even a biometric check
such as a
fingerprint scan). This means that you are ensuring that any accounts are extra secure and that
you are taking
extra steps to ensure the protection of your personal information.
On social media, for example, you can control what
information is visible to the public and what you choose to keep private. For example, do you
need to have your
location and date of birth on your Facebook account, or does having this information open you up
to the risk of
being scammed? We recommend that you limit the personal details that you share to minimise your
chances of being
targeted by scammers.
This includes your bank account which you should frequently check to ensure
has not been any unexpected transactions, as well as any other account to check that all of the
as you left it.
What are some common scams aimed at students?
With loans generally due in September, January and April, you need
vigilant in paying attention to potential student loans scams. These may come via text, email or
They will generally ask you to input details to release your student loan (this is never
something that you will
have to do - the money is transferred directly to your account and you will receive a text
notification when you
can expect this to happen).
Read the Student Loans Company’s advice on how to spot a Student Loans scam.
You will receive a message, generally through WhatsApp, where an agency will offer for you
your fees through them and to receive a significant discount (20%-30%) as well as the option of
paying them in
instalments. They will pay your fees using a stolen credit card and provide you with proof that
your fees have
been paid. They will then ask you to transfer your tuition fees to them. After some time, which
we have seen be
up to 3 months, the people posing as agents report the payments as unauthorised transactions
using stolen credit
cards, and the fees will be charged back. You will lose the money that you paid to the agency
scammers and have
to pay your fees again or else you are at risk of being tuition fee blocked or excluded.
Where possible, pay your fees directly to the University yourself via Convera. Try to do this as
far in advance
as possible of the fee payment deadline to avoid late payment of fees due to issues with
transactions. You can
find the University’s guidance on paying your Tuition Fees here and our webpage on tuition fees here.
Particularly on social media, you may see advertisements of many unofficial
events happening during welcome (Freshers), or even approached in-person on campus and asked if
you want to but
Freshers passes/ tickets. You will buy these tickets and passes, get yourself ready to head to
an event, and
arrive to realise it doesn’t exist.
Protect yourself and only buy official welcome passes. You can also find a list of all of the
during Welcome on Your Students’ Union website (most of which are free).
You will receive a text or call from a scammer pretending to be your
bank asking that you provide details such as your account number, sort code, address, name, card
pin or other
personal details in order to “activate” your new student bank account and bank card. They will
then use these
details to access your bank account and steal your money.
Your bank will never contact you and ask for you to clarify your details via the phone, email or
text, or ask you
to click a link. Never share these details with anyone over the phone, via email or online.
Scammers pretending to be Ofgem are
contacting students via email saying that they are eligible for a rent rebate
payment as part of a government scheme. It will provide a link to an external website to “claim
which is actually designed to steal your personal information and bank account details.
Ofgem, or any other organisation, will never contact you via email and ask you to provide
via email or to visit a non-official website.
You will be asked to use your student bank account to store stolen money and then asked to
withdraw and send the money to a different account (which is often overseas). The scammers will
allow you to
keep some money for yourselves. This commonly happens via social media, WhatsApp or in person.
The money was illegally obtained and you would become involved in money laundering. This means
you could be
prosecuted and disciplined according to university regulations and the law, regardless of
whether you were aware
that the money you were transferring was illegal.
You will be asked to pay a deposit/ rent quickly to secure a property without having
opportunity to view it, then later find out that the property does not exist. Never pay money
for a property
that you have not viewed either in-person or via a live video call.
Scammers will frequently advertise for “quick ways to make money” on social media (particularly
on fake University groups). You will end up providing bank details and may even directly send
money to the
scammers on the promise of better-quality work.
Only ever look for work on reputable websites such as Indeed, LinkedIn and Reed or directly from company
websites. Always do research on a place of work before applying for a job, and never send them
money – they
should be paying you!
This is when a criminal will send scam emails, text messages or phone calls often asking
you to visit a website or to click a link. This may then download a virus onto your computer
giving the criminal
access to all of your files, steal any bank details that you input, or steal other personal
information from you
that you input.
Never follow a link or visit a webpage without verifying who it has been sent from. You may also
wish to add an
add-on to your browser to detect scam webpages and block them from opening – such as Malwarebytes Browser
Scammers will call and pretend to be a computer technician from well-known companies
such as Microsoft or Apple. They will inform you that they have found a fault on your device and
will ask you to
give them remote access to your desktop so that they can run diagnostic tests. They will then
lock you out of
your desktop and demand money, often in the form of gift cards, in return for giving you access
back to your
Do not provide remote access to your device to any company which you have not not verified is
official and have
not first contacted yourself.
A phishing attack where you will receive emails where a criminal will attempt to blackmail
you by claiming that they have your login details or a video of you visiting an adult website
and will share
this information unless you pay a ransom. It may include a password that you have used or that
use, as well as technical sounding details, to make it more convincing.
They do not know if you have visited adult websites, if you have a webcam, and do not have any
videos of you.
They are attempting to scare you into acting quickly and in making payments.
What do I do if I have been scammed?
If you feel threatened in any way you should call 999 immediately. Keep a record of what's happened so you can
Sometimes scammers might steal your passwords or financial information. You should immediately reset your
passwords if you suspect these have been stolen. If you think your account details or PIN have been stolen you
need to contact your bank immediately to stop your account being used. Pay close attention to your statements to
see if there are unusual transactions.
You should contact your bank immediately if there is a payment from your bank account you don’t recognise – an
'unauthorised transaction' or if you have used your debit card and more money was taken than you expected.
If you transferred money to the scammer in the last 24 hours you should inform the police as soon as possible by
If you have given or lost money to a scammer, you can visit the Citizens Advice website to “Check If You can Get Your Money Back After A Scam”.
How can Your Advice Service help you?
If you are struggling financially as a result of being scammed and cannot afford essential living costs, please
contact Your Students’ Union Advice Service for support. We will work with you to tell you how to report the
scam if you haven’t already and what support may be available to you.
You can contact us by completing an Enquiry Form.