It has been brought to our attention that there is a current scam which is targeting non-UK students.
Some students may receive a telephone call from an individual who fraudulently purports to represent the Home Office.
This scam may follow a similar pattern to previous scams:
- A student receives a call or an email from someone pretending to be from the Home Office and may know personal details such as full names, passport numbers and postcodes
The incoming number may appear to match a genuine number such as the Home Office one (020 7035 4848) and they may ask you to verify it on the Home Office website www.gov.uk where the number may appear. They can also pretend to be another legitimate organisation such as an education agent, UKCISA or even the police.
The student is told that there is a problem with their visa and that they need to pay a fine and/or give the caller personal information and contact details. Sometimes the caller would be already in possession of some of the student's personal details such as passport number which makes it even more convincing.
They may instruct the student to pay the fine via Western Union & MoneyGram. They may also instruct the student to obtain further cash and/or purchase a large amount of iTunes gift cards.
- They claim that, if the victim does not pay the fine, usually £1200 - £1520 but can be higher, the victim will be reported to the police and/or the Home Office who will detain or deport them.
We have also become aware of scams affecting Chinese students
Fraudsters using WeChat and mobile contacts contact students on their mobile phone claiming to represent their bank, the embassy, police or other reputable agency and are told they owe funds immediately, often being offered preferential exchange rates on currency conversions.
Chinese students can refer to the news item on Chinese Embassy website for more information.
Please remember that the Home Office or UKVI will never call an international student to request payments or ask for personal details in this way
DO NOT speak to these individuals or give information about yourself.
DO NOT make payments.
Hang up the phone and follow the University guidance on scams targeting students
Check British Council's Creating Confidence booklet for more useful tips to ensure your time studying in the UK is safe and enjoyable.