What to do if you're a victim of a scam

Guild International Officer Alice shares her advice on how to be more scam aware

What are scams?

A scam is a criminal offence under the Fraud Act. They come in many forms but are mostly designed to deceive you, to take your money or some personal information.

Anyone can be targeted for scams including students. There are many types of scams out there and scammers (criminals or fraudsters) are becoming increasingly sophisticated – they may even know your basic details.

They are likely to contact you through phone calls, emails (known as “phishing”), texts, WhatsApp, social media, or even in person.

They might pretend to be someone you trust, like a friend, a family member, legitimate organisations like HMRC, the Student Loans Company, delivery companies such as Evri or Amazon, and even the University.

They might offer you something that sounds too good to be true, like a prize, a job, tuition fee discounts, or a refund.

Or they might threaten you with something bad, reputation damage, a fine, risk of deportation, or a virus.

Spotting signs of a scam

Our ‘Advice on scams’ page on the student intranet has detailed information on the types of scams that are targeted at students and what to look out for. We recommend giving it a read and bookmarking it.

Some of these scams can seem very convincing and persuasive, but questions to ask yourself are:

  • Has someone contacted you unexpectedly?
  • Does it sound too good to be true?
  • Have you been asked to provide your personal information such as passwords or bank details like PINs? 
  • Does the message or email you received contain spelling or grammatical mistakes? Learn more about being cyber safe in this news story.
  • Have you been asked to transfer money quickly?
  • Have you spotted any unusual transactions on your bank or credit card statement, including missing cash or money you don’t remember spending?
  • Have you been asked to give access to your laptop or computer?
  • Have you been asked not to communicate this with other people, such as your family, friends, or report to the University?

If you think you or if one of your friends has been targeted by scammers, don’t panic. Stay calm and follow the below guidance.  

What to do if you think you’ve been scammed

  • Report it to the police through Action Fraud any time of the day or night using their online reporting tool or by calling 0300 123 2040.
  • If you feel threatened, report this to the police immediately by calling 999.
  • If you transferred money to the scammer in the last 24 hours, tell the police immediately by calling 101.
  • If you’ve given any financial and personal information, contact your bank immediately so they can protect your account and refund any money that has been taken.
  • You can also check your credit score to see if there are applications for credit you don’t recognise.
  • If you think you’ve given the scammer access to your laptop or computer, they might have infected your computer with a virus, or stolen passwords and financial information. Change your passwords, inform your bank about potential financial information theft, and update your anti-virus software. If you were using a University laptop or computer then contact our IT department to let them know.
  • If you get a phone call or an email from an organisation asking you for personal information, contact the company directly using a known email or phone number to check the call is legitimate. Keep any records to share it with them.

Support at the University

Being a victim of a scam can be a distressing experience. We’re here if you need someone to talk to.

You can drop in to see our Community Safety Team, (Monday to Friday, 10am-4pm) located in the North Lodge at the top of the Green Heart, as soon as possible. They can help you figure out next steps and guide you through the reporting process if you’re unsure.

For emotional support, visit our Time to Talk? page to find out more about our talking services such as UB Heard. You could also get in touch with Guild Advice at the Guild of Students.

We hope this advice is helpful. For more information on protecting yourself from scams, visit getsafeonline.org.


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