Spotting Scammers

We are a couple of months into the academic year, it’s important to highlight this is a prime time for scammers to operate. We've already heard of a couple of instances of students falling victim to scams – so make sure to stay vigilant and be aware of the signs of a scammer. 

There are three golden rules to remember when it comes to spotting scammers:  
  • Slow it down - Scammers often create a sense of urgency to bypass your better instincts. Take time, and question everything. 
  • Spot check - Do your research to double check the details you're getting. If you get an unexpected phone call, hang up. Look up the bank, agency or organization that's calling and get in touch with them directly. 
  • Stop! Don't send - this rule is particularly key. No reputable person or agency will ever demand payment on the spot. In particular scammers tell you to go buy gift cards - which are not designed to be given as payment under threat. No government organisation for example would request payment via Amazon or iTunes gift cards. 
  • Beware of scams - if it sounds too good to be true, it is probably a scam, and if you don’t know the person or organisation, you should never share your personal details with them before determining who they are.’?

Unfortunately, there have been some cases of students experiencing fraudulent schemes (scams), by telephone or email, often with the purpose of obtaining money or personal bank details from them.

Such contact can take the form of the caller/email contact pretending to be a representative of a genuine organisation such as the student’s bank, embassy, the police or the Home Office.

You can also find guidance here on what to do if you get an email, telephone call or letter from someone pretending to be the Home Office

In general, if you are suspicious of a caller or emailer:
  • Do not provide any personal details to them (e.g. date of birth, visa details, bank account details)
  • Do not confirm any personal details are correct, if the caller/emailer already has some personal information about you  
  • Be very suspicious if you are asked to pay money, particularly by money transfer, iTunes vouchers or in the form of a fine.  Do not commit to making any payment until you have verified it is genuine request.

If you think you have experienced a scam, please contact the university’s International Student Advisers or you can submit a report online to Action Fraud.

You can also contact the UofG Security and Operational Support Team 24 hours a day if you are concered or in need of any help and assitance and they will be happy to help. 

First published: 2 December 2021

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