In particular, international students are often targeted by these criminals, who may use scare tactics to pressurise victims into handing over money through false claims such as their visa being cancelled or that they are at risk of deportation.
Sadly, this year is no different. Below we have provided some tips from UK Visas and Immigration and Action Fraud to help students spot when they may be at risk:
- Legitimate calls from Home Office officials will never ask you to pay over the phone
- You will never be asked to pay in cryptocurrency, gift cards or via money transfer services
- Home Office officials will never pressure you to make payments immediately or threaten deportation or cancellation of visas
- Be aware that fraudsters may give you a fake name or call back number to appear more legitimate
- Always question calls like this. If you are worried about the status of your visa, contact International Student Advice and Support in the first instance.
If you think you have been a victim of fraud, please use Action Fraud’s online reporting service which is available 24/7.
Action Fraud is the UK’s national reporting centre for fraud and cybercrime where you should report fraud if you have been scammed, defrauded or experienced cybercrime.
You can also call the Action Fraud contact centre on 0300 123 2040.
When you report to them you will receive a police crime reference number. Reports taken are passed to the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau. Action Fraud does not investigate the cases.
You only need to report fraud to Leicestershire Police if:
- There is a confirmed named suspect and they live within Leicestershire
- The crime is in progress