Scams

Being scammed is stressful and it could have a big impact on your student budget. Remember that a scam is a criminal offence so it’s really important to report anything you think is a scam even if you don’t personally fall victim. While there are many different scamming methods and ploys, there are a few tell-tale signs that someone is trying to target you. Follow our advice to make sure you’re protected.

Spotting Scams

There are many different types of scams out there and you may not always see them coming. Here are a few common ones to be aware of:

  • Copycat government websites - Some scams involve websites designed to look like official government websites such as HMRC. They will often try to charge you for services that you can actually get for free and ask for personal details you should not need to give.
  • Dating scams - Scammers use dating websites, social networks and chat rooms to get personal details or money from people. Romance scammers don’t prey on a specific gender, sexuality, race or age.
  • Holiday fraud - Scammers target online holiday booking and accommodation sites to scam unsuspecting customers into paying for accommodation that is not available or doesn’t exist.
  • Email phishing - Scammers send you a fake email pretending to be from your bank or another organisation you trust like HMRC or PayPal. This email will ask you to visit a website and log in with your account details. The site looks just like your bank's website but is really a fake site set up by criminals to get your details.

For tips on spotting online scams, visit Take Five - Stop Fraud and Action Fraud.

You can also visit the University's IT Service's website for more information on what to do if you suspect you're being targeted by phishing emails.

Protecting yourself from scams

The internet plays a big part in student life. So whether you’re conducting research for your studies, buying course books, or keeping in touch with friends, make sure you stay cyber-safe.

  • Use secure computers with updated security software.
  • Only shop on trusted and reputable sites; look for the padlock symbol.
  • Keep log-in details and passwords private.
  • Never publish personal details such as your name and address online – and don’t give them out to people you haven’t met in real life.
  • Keep all your records of online transactions.

If criminals find out your personal details, they may be able to use them to open bank accounts or get credit cards, loans and state benefits in your name. Criminals may also attempt to obtain documents in your name, such as a driving licence or passport. Information that is helpful to criminals includes your name, date of birth, address, National Insurance (NI) number and bank and credit card details.

  • Dispose of documents that contain personal details. Use a shredder.
  • Report a lost passport, driving license or credit card to the issuer immediately.
  • If you move house, tell all organisations with which you do business. The Royal Mail’s redirection service can ensure that your post arrives at your new address.
  • If you use the internet, always use a different password for each account. Follow the advice on our Password and Email page.

For more information about identity theft, visit www.identitytheft.org.uk and www.getsafeonline.org.