Scams and Risks

Be scam-savvy, spot the red flags to protect yourself and your money.


Like everyone, students can fall victim to a scam or fraud, so it important to be aware of the signs of a scam and know how you can protect yourself, your money and personal information. 

Be alert to the red flags of a potential scam:

  • Has someone contacted you unexpectedly? Or contacted you after you have run an online search (for example, if you were searching for work online)?  

  • Have you been asked to provide your personal information?   

  • Does the information you are told sound too good to be true? 

  • Are you being pressured into making an immediate decision, especially over the phone?  

  • Does the message you received contain spelling or grammatical mistakes?  

  • Have you been asked to hold money in your bank account on behalf of an organisation? 

  • Have you been asked to transfer money to an online banking app, or a personal account?   

  • Have you been asked to pay money upfront, for example in relation to an employment opportunity?   

  • Are you receiving pop-up messages asking you do take various actions?  


Who to contact if you have been a victim or to report suspicious activity

If you think have been contacted by a scammer pertaining to be from the University (such as someone saying they are from the accommodation or finance office), you can report it to us via Report & Support. You should also contact Action Fraud to report the criminal activity.

If you are a victim of any other scams or fraudulent activity you can report via Action Fraud, either online or over the phone.

As scams evolve all the time and affect different areas of your life, from paying utility bills to buying gig tickets, you can sign up to the Which? Scam Alert Service to stay up to date on the latest scams. Also find out more about getting your money back if you have been a victim of a scam or fraud.

Below are some common scams aimed at students. This is not an exhaustive list, and they may vary in detail as fraudsters invent new ways to target students. 

On very rare occasions, students may be contacted by phone by someone who says that they are from the University, in relation to paying tuition or accommodation fees. The student is then directed to make a payment to a specific bank account or set up a direct debit, whilst they are on the call.

Outsmart the scammer tip: We will never contact you by phone and confirm our identity by telling you any information about your credit or debit card, including any digits from the long number on the card. We will always direct you to the relevant payment page on our University website if you need to make a payment to us. We will never ask you to make a payment whilst you are on the phone. If in doubt put the phone down report via Report & Support.

Fraudsters may get in touch by phone, email, or text claiming to be from your bank and reporting a problem, such as fraudulent activity or an attack. They can clone phone numbers, so the number may look legitimate. They may ask for personal information including bank details, pin number and could even ask you to transfer money to a different account to protect it.

Outsmart the scammer tip: Banks will never ask for this kind of personal information. Don’t be afraid to put the phone down and call your bank on the number on the back of your debit card to speak to someone directly.

The most common Student Loan Company (SLC) scam is via phishing emails claiming to be from the company, and they may use the SLC logo. Students may be asked to click a link and provide personal and financial information, including passwords.

Outsmart the scammer tip: The SLC would never ask for this information via email. Don’t click on any links, delete the email and contact the SLC directly via their website/your account.

Criminals are increasingly targeting students, both online and in-person, and offering them cash to receive money into their bank account and transfer it to another account. Most mules are recruited, sometimes unwittingly, by criminals to transfer stolen money on behalf of others.

Outsmart the scammer tip: Break off all contact with the person, and speak to someone you can trust, as these scammers rely on secrecy to conduct their illegal activity. Get more useful information on the National Crime Agency website.  

Communication is usually via text or email, purporting to be from a large organisation such as Amazon, HMRC or the Royal Mail, claiming that you are due a refund or tax return and asks you to provide your bank information. They may also claim that you have won a prize or competition.

Outsmart the scammer tip: Do not click any links, delete the communication, and search the official company page or contact them directly to confirm whether it’s legitimate.

Students and/or their families are contacted and offered discounts or ‘help’ to pay their tuition fees. The fraudsters pay the students tuition fees with a stolen card, which may mean that it shows up as paid on university accounts. The student or their family then pays the scammers, but the bank cancels the original payment, so the tuition fees are still owed to the University. 

Outsmart the scammer tip: The University does not offer any discounts for paying fees quickly or by paying through third parties. Payments should be made through our approved partners or to the university directly. Always check the Making a Payment webpage to see our ways to pay.

Students are contacted, usually over the phone, with the caller claiming to be from somewhere official such as an embassy, the UK Home Office, or the Police. They may claim that the student has been involved in a crime or are at risk of deportation and demand a payment. This fraud is designed to instil fear and make decisions quickly without thinking.

Outsmart the scammer tip: Never make a payment or give out any personal information, and do not confirm any information they have is correct. If in doubt hang up the call.  Helpful advice can be found on the UK Council for International Student Affairs website.

Phishing messages are emails that try to trick you into giving out personal information or visiting fake websites. Scammers use increasingly sophisticated measures posing as trusted contacts and asking you to check IT account details are just some of the ways this can happen.

Outsmart the scammer tip: Our online phishing awareness training will give you all the tips and tools you need to stay safe, and it only takes a few minutes. Find out more and access the training Cyber Security page.

Check out the How to stay safe from scams ( online hub from which has useful information to help you stay vigilant and spot the variety of fraudulent activity that may be targeted at you, your personal information and your finances.