At The University of Manchester one of our top priorities is helping you to stay safe. This includes making sure you know how to protect yourself when it comes to scams and fraud. Below we list how to identify scams, how you can protect yourself from fraud and where to go if you need help.
How to identify scams
Being aware of the types of scams that are currently happening can help you identify when a situation is a scam. We’ve listed some examples below and where to go for advice and support if you think someone is trying to scam you.
Scenario 1: You are called by someone pretending to be from the Government or police who claim they suspect you are involved in criminal activity.
- claim they have evidence that your bank account has been used to launder money. Money laundering is where criminals try to conceal the proceeds of crime by transferring money into legitimate accounts.
- claim that you will be deported if you do not prove you are not a criminal by transferring funds out of your bank account.
- have used skimming software on their phone to make the number they are calling from appear to be an official number.
- use threatening and persistent language to try to intimidate you.
- demand payment of a fine, or demand you make a transfer of funds to prove you are cooperating with the authorities, or demand you give them your bank account details.
Scenario 2: You are contacted by someone claiming to be from a courier company.
- claim a package has been sent from abroad and the tax or fine needs to be paid on it.
- ask that you key a number into your phone.
- demand payment of a fine, demand you make a transfer of funds, or demand you give them your bank account details.
Scenario 3: You receive a call from someone claiming to be from the University.
- claim you need to make a full or part tuition fee payment.
- demand you transfer funds or give your bank account details to make the payment.
We will never call you and ask you to transfer money into a bank account. If you owe fees, you will receive an email from the Finance Office.
Scenario 4: You are asked to sign a contract for private rental of a property, but the rent stated is extremely high.
- This could mean that the landlord is not the real landlord and is actually scamming you into paying very high rent for a property they have no rights to rent.
- You could be evicted as well as lose money.
You should be aware of what an average rental cost is by looking here. And if in doubt, never sign a contract until you have sought advice from Manchester Student Homes.
What to do if you think you’re being scammed
Neither the Home Office or any police force or legitimate company will ask you to give out your bank details over the phone, transfer funds, or pay a fine. Any caller who asks you to do these things is trying to commit a fraud.
What you should do:
- Refuse to share any personal information with them – do not give them information about your passport, your visa, your bank account or your address.
- Hang up the call and block the number.
- Report the call to the University. You can do this by speaking to a member of ResLife in your Hall, or by contacting Report and Support. Letting us know means that we are better able to support you and that we can work with Greater Manchester Police to identify the people who are making the calls. Intimidation and fraud is a serious crime.
Protecting yourself and your money
There are a few steps you can take to make sure you keep yourself and your money safe.
- Be suspicious of jobs that advertise earning money quickly and easily. Ensure you’re using legitimate job searching website seach as the SU’s Job Shop and research the company before accepting.
- Don’t accept message requests from people you don’t know, and if you receive a link to click from a friend, speak to them in person before you respond.
- Never share your bank or personal details with anyone that you don’t know or trust. If someone asks to ‘borrow’ your bank account, say no.
- If you have any concerns, or you’re worried about a potential scam or fraud, reach out to the links below. Criminals operate in silence, by reaching out you’re breaking the chain, helping yourself and others.
- University advice on scams
- Greater Manchester Police’s Action Fraud
- Students’ Union Advice Service
- Advice for Chinese students is available from the Embassy of the People’s Republic of China. Please note: this page gives information on a different but related fraud. Chinese students can also follow the CSSA social media channels.
If you’re ever unsure if a communication is legitimate, you can contact us via Report and Support.