Student Life Centre

Fraud advice for students

Criminals sometimes target students through scams and online fraud. Find out about recent fraud attempts at Sussex and get tips on how to protect yourself.

Fraud alerts


Don’t be fooled – how to avoid becoming a money mule

12 November 2019

New advice has been released to help students avoid becoming money mules.


Beware of advances fraud

18 October 2019

University students across the UK are being warned about fraudsters claiming to be from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP).



Protect yourself against frauds and scams

Whenever you receive a telephone call or email from someone you do not know, remember it could be a scam.

Criminals use all kinds of ways to trick you into paying them money or giving them valuable information about yourself.

These are some common features of fraudulent calls:

  • The caller may appear to be genuine and convincing, because they have some limited information about you (for example, your passport number, as well as your telephone number and name)
  • The caller may give you their name and telephone number, to try to convince you they are genuine. The number may even appear on your phone as coming from a genuine source, such as a government department like the Home Office
  • They may advise you not to tell anyone about the call as it would be a security breach.

If you receive such a call (or similar contact by other means, such as email or text):

  • Do not give the caller/sender any personal information, and do not confirm that any information they have is correct
  • You may wish to tell the caller/sender that you know about the fraudulent contact they are making, and that you will be reporting it to the police and the government. Or you may simply wish to hang up
  • Report the incident to the Student Life Centre. We can report the fraud to the authorities if you wish, and warn other students through our communications
  • you can choose to report the matter to Action Fraud
  • You can also help other potential fraud victims by adding details of your experience to a discussion on the Who Calls Me website.

International students

Some criminals specifically target international students, calling them and pretending to be from a legitimate organisation (such as the UK Home Office, UKVI or an education agent). They demand money (calling it a "fine" for a non-existent immigration problem) and claim that if you do not pay them quickly there will be damaging consequences (for example, deportation or cancelling your visa).

They might:

  • say there is a serious problem with your immigration status, and that you need to pay a fine, or send a payment
  • demand payment is made via Western Union or Moneygram as soon as possible, supposedly to prevent further action or investigation by the UK Home Office
  • speak in dramatic terms, perhaps talking about deportation or cancelling your visa. This is a common fraudster's technique, to make you panic and become pressurised into paying the fake fine.

Remember:

  • Do not make any payment. The Home Office does not issue financial penalties and would never call you asking you to make a payment in this way.
  • You can tell us about this. Email immigration@sussex.ac.uk.

More anti-fraud advice