Scam advice – protect yourself

What is a scam?

Scams are tricks with the intention of getting hold of your money fraudulently. They take various forms and could be relatively simple or quite sophisticated ways in which to get you to reveal your personal details or even have you pay your money directly to them.

The best way to protect yourself is to recognise when you may be getting targeted.

Common scams

Offering a currency transfer

  • The scammer will approach you offering a service to transfer funds for you internationally with a very favourable exchange rate.
  • They may make a small payment on your behalf which you can check has been received by the University in order to gain your trust.
  • When you then provide them with a larger amount to transfer they will either keep your funds or pay using stolen card details so the money received by the University will be reclaimed, leaving you with outstanding fees still to be paid.

Pretending to be from UKVI

  • You may be contacted by either phone or email by someone who is claiming to be from the Home Office or UKVI.
  • They may have obtained some of your details such as your name or passport number and will provide those to you in order to make their claim seem genuine.
  • They will then proceed to tell you that there is an issue with your visa and that it will be curtailed and you will be reported to the police who will detain or deport you unless you pay a fine to them immediately.

Pretending to be a law enforcement (police) or embassy official from your home country

  • The fraudster will contact you claiming to be an official from your home embassy or a police officer.
  • They will advise that there is a problem either in your home country or in the UK that is going to result in criminal action being taken against you or that will put you at risk.
  • They will then either advise that you need to transfer funds from your bank account in order to keep them ‘safe' or that you need to pay a fine to avoid an issue such as deportation or prison for you or members of your family.

How can I avoid being scammed?

  • Never share personal, banking or financial information with anyone who lacks a verifiable relationship with the University. The requestor may be trying to obtain the information for fraudulent use.
  • Always verify who you are speaking with (via social media, phone or using other channels).
  • Do not engage with an individual offering to pay fees on your behalf with a discounted payment or favourable exchange rate.
  • Avoid any company that advertises services to pay your fees that are not endorsed on the University website.
  • Always be vigilant about the risk of being contacted by scammers and be aware that they could approach you in a variety of ways. Should you have any doubts, contact the University International or Finance Teams.

Be aware that Kingston University will not accept any responsibility for payments that are made outside of the officially endorsed payment methods.

Further information

Further information on scams and tricks can be obtained from the Home Office or UKCISA. The British Council have also provided an online Creating Confidence leaflet which has a lot of advice on how to stay safe and enjoy your time studying in the UK.