Skip to main content

Keep safe - tips for avoiding student scams

Woman in front of computer
  • Written byUAL Communications
  • Published date 23 November 2021
Woman in front of computer

Fraudsters often target students in a bid to steal your money and personal details. Stay aware and learn how to avoid being conned.

Top tips

  • Police will never demand money in order to cancel an arrest or ask you to withdraw or transfer money so “it can be checked”.
  • Don't reply or give your personal information, financial details, passwords or PINs to unexpected callers, texts or emails.
  • What's their email provider? Genuine businesses rarely use free email providers like Gmail, Yahoo or Hotmail.
  • Check their email domain. Fraudsters may mimic an address such as by using '' or '' rather than ''.
  • If asked to pay for something in advance – especially by bank transfer, think twice.
  • Criminals may try to rush or panic you. It’s ok to reject, refuse or ignore any requests.
  • Check the phone number. Be suspicious if it starts with: 070, 084, 087, 090, 091 or 098.
  • Note any poor spelling or grammar. Genuine organisations are less likely to have them.
  • Don’t download attachments or click on links in texts or emails you weren’t expecting.

Common student scams

Christmas and Holidays

  • Sharing on socials? Make sure you don't accidentally show sensitive information.
  • Online shopping? Check their reputation and avoid storing card numbers on websites.
  • Using someone's computer? Check their anti-virus is updated and back up your work.

COVID-19 scams

Fraudsters are claiming that you need to pay for things such as Covid-19 tests, track and trace searches and even claiming that you're entitled to financial support. If you receive contact, do NOT part with your money or send your bank details.

Check your UAL email account

Your UAL account can still be targeted by fraudulent emails.

  • Check the email domain. Suspicious emails may come from a non-UAL email domain such as ''.
  • Does the subject begin with "Re:"? It may try to appear as a reply to an email you sent.
  • Asked to click a button, link or image? Do not click - it could release a virus.
  • Contact the IT Service Desk if you've received or acted on a suspicious email to your UAL account: +44 (0)20 7514 9898. Lines are open 24/7, 365 days a year.
    You should also reset your password immediately on Password Self Service (PSS).
  • For personal devices, you should run anti-virus software to avoid any harmful software spreading. Always check you have the latest updates installed.

HMRC and council tax

Scammers take advantage of new students, especially when moving to a new area.

Be aware if someone calls, emails or texts claiming to be from HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC). They may say that you can claim financial help, that you are owed or due a tax payment and even ask for bank details. Do NOT take action or send money.

Learn how to recognise genuine HMRC contact and check the latest scams on GOV.UK

Think you've been a victim?

  1. Contact your bank immediately if you think you’ve fallen victim to a scam.
  2. Forward the suspicious emails to and texts to 60599.
  3. Report it to Action Fraud.

International student scam

International students are often targeted by fraudsters posing as Home Office officials or as the police and threatening to deport them unless they pay money upfront.

Students from non-EU countries are often a target because they are likely to require visas to be in the country.


  • If you've made a payment to someone claiming to be the police or government department, and you think you might be a victim of fraud, report it to Action Fraud.
  • Ask your students’ union Arts SU or contact Student Services for advice.
  • If you’re worried your personal email accounts may have been targeted, check Have I been pwned? for any data breaches.

Related content