Money Safety

Don’t be fooled by scammers – how to stay safe online

HMRC have warned that there are new phishing scams circulating around University email addresses, where new students are being targeted specifically by tax scams. Most commonly, fraudsters are sending fake tax refunds using university email addresses that seem legitimate (often ending in to avoid detection from students. To make sure you and your personal data remains safe, we thought we’d refresh you with the do’s and don’ts of online safety.

Beware of being baited in to a phishing scam

Phishing scams aim to trick you into handing over sensitive information or open attachments/web-links to malicious content and come in the form of emails, phone calls and text messages. Scammers will contact you, disguised as legitimate businesses, claiming you need to provide or confirm personal details. They may also attempt to obtain your IT account details.

How do I spot and avoid them?

For emails/texts:

  • Check the sender address directly matches the official email address
  • Watch out for poor grammar/spelling
  • Be wary of threats demanding you take action immediately
  • Don’t open attachments or links from a suspected scammer
  • Report all phishing emails to IT Services

If you’re worried you’ve been scammed, phone the IT Support Centre immediately on 0161 306 5544 (available 24/7)

For phone calls:

Avoid calls from unknown numbers

If you answer, take the caller’s name and tell them that you’ll call them back. A legitimate caller should have no problem with this, but only call a number that can be found on an official document, not the number they used to call you.

Search the number online. Lots of websites actually log spam numbers based on other people’s reports

Don’t be pressured into giving any information immediately even if they say it’s urgent

Avoid fake shopping websites

The Internet is a great thing! You can fill up your wardrobe without ever stepping foot in a physical store (so you can have that Halloween costume delivered straight to your door). However, you may be tricked into buying products from a fake website which doesn’t deliver what you purchased or provides you with counterfeit goods.

How do I spot and avoid them?

  • Always check the domain name. Fake websites may use the brand or a product name in their domain to trick you into believing it’s legitimate e.g.
  • If the prices seem too good to be true, then they probably are
  • Look out for the returns info and policy. A legitimate website will give you details on how to return an item or delivery FAQ’s
  • Read online reviews to find out other customers’ experience with the company

Don’t be a money mule

Students can sometimes be tricked into money laundering, an illegal activity in which they are given money and then asked to transfer it from their bank account to another whilst gaining a small fee for doing so. You may be roped into doing this in a number of ways, for example being offered a job as a ‘Mystery Shopper’ or ‘Payment Processing Agent’. If you’re caught doing this, you could face a prison sentence of up to 10 years, as well as being put at risk of ID fraud even if you didn’t know that what you were doing was illegal!

How do I spot and avoid them?

  • Avoid and decline requests from people who want you to transfer their money from your account
  • If you’re offered a job that you may be suspicious about, talk to the Careers Service so that they can look through it for you
  • Don’t be pressured in to sign up to anything you do not fully understand
  • If you do feel pressured, you can always contact the police for help and advice

Don’t forget to visit our website for more info on scams and risks that you may be vulnerable to as a student! Visit our webpage for more information.

%d bloggers like this: