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Scams and fraud targeting international students

Section 1: Purpose and Contents of this page:

This page has been created to give guidance for students who think they may have been the target of fraud or scams.

Please ensure you have carefully read the guidance provided for your situation BEFORE you contact Student Immigration.

Section 2: What is a scam:

A scam is a a dishonest scheme intended to defraud someone.

Unfortunately, international students are regularly targeted for scams (usually by threatening that they can cancel your visa or deport you if you don't make payment), therefore, it is important that you remain vigilant and take note of the guidance provided on this page.

Section 3: Are there any particular scams International Students should be aware of:

Some scams target certain nationalities and the embassy/ high commission of some countries have issues specific warning to their citizens, for example, Indian High Commission in London, and Chinese embassy.

International students may be contacted by telephone where the caller pretends to represent the Home Office or other legitimate agencies or businesses (for example, Indian High Commission, Chinese Embassy, police or investigators from your home country).

The scam follows a similar pattern as the example below.

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 where the number may appear.

They can also pretend to be another legitimate organisation such as an education agent, the Embassy or High Commission, or even the police in your home country.

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.

They may also use WeChat or other similar programmes to contact a student on their 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.

Remember the Home Office, UKVI, Police, Embassy or High Commission will never call an international student to request payments or ask for personal details in this way.

If you receive such a call, you should hang up the phone and follow the university's guidance on scams - see section below.

DO NOT speak to these individuals or give information about yourself.

DO NOT make any payments.

Section 4: I think I have received a scam call, what should I do:

Please see the university's guidance on how to avoid scams:

Warwick | MyWarwick | Stay Safe HubLink opens in a new window

If you have received a scam text or call but did not fall victim, you can report this by text:

OFCOM | Report Scam Text and CallsLink opens in a new window

If you feel upset, you may also wish to contact the University of Warwick Wellbeing Service:

Warwick | Wellbeing | StudentsLink opens in a new window

If you have made payment, you should contact your Bank as soon as possible and report that you have been the victim of fraud.

You should also report this to the Police via Action Fraud:

UK Police | Action Fraud

You may also wish to contact the Students Union to see what assistance they can offer you:

Warwick | Student UnionLink opens in a new window

Please also see the guidance on the following links:

UK Council For International Student Affairs | Frauds and scamsLink opens in a new window

Citizens Advice | Banking - security and fraudLink opens in a new window

Section 5: If you have further queries and useful links

If, after reading the guidance above, and you are still unsure of what you should do next, please contact Student Immigration to discuss your situation via the following methods:

    Please click on the following links for more information

    University of Warwick:

    UK Government:

    Other contacts:

    Page Change Log:

    Page Audit Review:
    Previous Review Date Reviewed By Next Review Date
    12/Apr/2023 ISA: JL 12/Apr/2024
    13/Mar/2022 ISA: JL 13/Mar/2023
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    All All Page Created ISA: JL 13/Mar/2022