BIPOC Student Scam Warning
The Brookes Union BIPOC Students’ Officer has issued a warning for students at the university who have recently been targeted by phone scammers posing as officials from various organizations such as the Ministry of Justice, the University office, and cellular organizations. The scammers make calls requesting payment for an unpaid bill or threatening legal action. They may also send texts or emails offering tax refunds in exchange for personal details. The scammers create a sense of urgency to pressure students into providing the information.
It is important to remember to never give out personal details to an unknown caller, as their identity cannot be verified. If a suspicious call is received, students are encouraged to hang up and call back using a verified phone number. While the caller may sound convincing and may even have some limited information about the targeted student, it is important to not disclose any personal information and to not confirm the accuracy of any information the caller may have.
Any instances of contact from scammers should be reported to Action Fraud at +44 (0)300 123 2040 or through their website. The University's International Student Advice Team (ISAT) should also be notified.
To check the validity of an unknown phone number, individuals can search for it on websites such as who called me?. This website will display if the number has been reported for harassment or as a dangerous scam call. If the number is identified as a scam call, it should be blocked. However, scammers often use multiple phone numbers.
There have been reports of scammers claiming to be from the Home Office and targeting international students. These scammers inform students of issues with their immigration status and request payment of fines. It is important to be aware that the Home Office does not issue financial penalties. The Home Office has provided guidance on this type of scam and it can be accessed on their website. The UK Council for International Student Affairs (UKCISA) has also released guidance on frauds and scams that students can refer to.
Another scam involves calls from individuals claiming to be from the local council. Students should not provide any personal information to these callers. If unsure of the call's authenticity, students can inform the caller that they will be contacting the local council directly to verify the information and then hang up. The government's website provides a search tool where students can find their local council's website and valid contact details.
Students should be wary of suspicious emails or texts related to online fraud. For more information on protecting oneself from online fraud, the Metropolitan Police website offers advice on this topic.
In order to protect themselves from falling victim to these scams, students should be cautious when receiving calls or messages from unknown sources. They should never disclose personal information and always verify the identity of the caller by independently contacting the organization they claim to represent. By being vigilant and reporting any suspicious activity, students can help prevent themselves and others from falling victim to these scams.