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Advice on spotting a scam and avoiding fraudsters

Unfortunately we have been made aware of some cases of fraud, phishing and other scams in the UK, where students from the UK and abroad have been targeted in an attempt to trick them out of their money. Please take note of the advice and guidance below, familiarise yourself with the information and be as vigilant as possible when dealing with money matters.

Making safe payments to the University

Beware of 'Money Mule' Fraud

Did you know . . . . ?

Young people are increasingly the major victims of fraud. Victims don’t only lose their money - they can lose their family savings, their businesses, their trust in other people, their mental health and plenty more.

One of the most common enablers of fraud are 'money mules' – this is where you are targeted to let someone else use your bank account to send money into.

Some criminals target their recruitment of money mules at university/college students – either online (usually social media), in person or via friends and family.

By using money mules, criminals try to ensure that the consequences hit the mule instead of them.

Money mules usually get recruited because they get a cut of the stolen money. This means they are involved in money laundering. This is a serious criminal offence, with a maximum sentence of 14 years in prison.

How can I protect myself?

Be suspicious of job adverts that offer the chance to earn quick and easy money. Stick to reputable job sites and remember that if something looks too good to be true, then it probably is.

Don’t sign up for any opportunity without undertaking some proper research - e.g. Google any prospective employer, do they have an online presence? Are the contact details legitimate? Is it based overseas?

Don’t engage with any online posts offering large sums of money.

Don’t accept message requests from people you don’t know, and if you receive a message with a link to click from a friend, speak to them in person before you respond.

Don’t share bank and personal details with anyone that you don’t know or trust – even among friends or family. If someone asks to 'borrow' your bank account, say no.

Always remember that if you aren’t sure about the source of the money, it could have come from criminal activity, and you could unwittingly be laundering money and end up with a criminal conviction.

What should I do?

If you or someone you know has been approached, break off all contact, don’t receive or move any money, and ask for advice from someone you trust. Criminals operate in silence – by talking about it, you are protecting others.

Report it by calling local Police on 101 (or 999 in an emergency).

Contact the independent charity CrimeStoppers. You can do this 100% anonymously online or by calling 0800 555 111.

If you see it online, click the button to report it to the social media platform/company to get it taken down.

If criminals have already got your personal information report it to Action Fraud National Fraud & Cyber Crime Reporting Centre on 0300 123 2040.


Useful links

The UK's Student Loans Company has offered their advice on avoiding fraud and phishing scams - https://www.gov.uk/guidance/phishing-scams-how-you-can-avoid-them  

Take Five is a UK-based campaign to raise awareness of scams and fraudulent activity - https://www.takefive-stopfraud.org.uk/  

Action Fraud is the UK police website regarding fraud and how to report it - https://www.actionfraud.police.uk/ 

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