Student Advice Service – Money Matters

News from the Student Advice Service at the University of Brighton

person using a mobile phone to send a text message

Protect yourselves from plausible scams

Please be aware of the serious scam alert to start the new year!

We are sorry to have to tell you, but scammers have already managed to steal money from our students and others across the country with their latest sneaky phone scam.

Scammers have been phoning students, pretending to be from the university’s Finance department, saying that a bank has been in contact with the university as someone has been trying to set up an account in that student’s name.  The scammers ask you to transfer money into a new account/another person’s account – or into another of your own accounts. They may have managed to find your bank details for this other account.

THIS IS A SCAM. Nobody from the University will call you about alleged fraudulent activity connected to your bank account.

The only time the university would contact you about your bank account would be to tell you a payment for Halls or tuition fees had failed or if you were applying to one of the university hardship funds.

The scammers use information available on the internet to fool students – they may give the name of University employees, and will pretend to be them.

It is easy to look up information readily available online to find staff names, bank addresses etc, but does not mean they are in any way connected with the University – they are NOT.

Scammers use alarmist language to frighten you into giving them personal information – they will suggest that someone is trying to steal your student loan, and encourage you to move your money to a different account.  They try to gain your trust by using language such as ‘to keep your money safe’.

Information about your bank should NEVER be given over the phone or to anyone who contacts you online. Your bank will never ask you to move money to different accounts, and nor would the University.

Apparently nearly a third of all fraud is committed over the telephone.  You may think you are wise to it, but they seem to find sly ways to make you trust them.[i]

Fraudster’s tactics:

  • Criminals can disguise their phone number to make it look like any number they choose.
  • They can call you with what looks like a genuine phone number, either using a computer or human voice and they will keep your landline open by not hanging up and even play a dialling tone over the phone.
  • They can send text messages requesting you call them, click on a link, or enter a One Time Password (OTP)
  • These scam messages can appear alongside your genuine messages.
  • They can also send website links which can steal your data and money when you click on them.

Don’t trust the caller ID display on yoru phone, a phone number is not proof of ID.

Protect yourself by taking time to think about it before giving any information at all or taking any action over the phone. Don’t be rushed – the scammers don’t want you to take time to think about it.

Verify anything you have been told using a trusted method – not by checking numbers given in the call. If you think you have had a call from the University – call the Student Advice Service and discuss what you have been told. We will try to find out whether the caller was genuine.  You can phone us on 01273 642888.

NEVER share your PIN, password or OTP with anyone, especially if they initiated contact. Not even by tapping into your phone.

Scammers may even know how much money you have in your account – they may follow up with a scam email after the phone call, so don’t trust that either!

If you think you might have fallen for a scam, report it to the Police through Action Fraud straight away:

  • Contact your bank straight way if you think you have been scammed – maybe they can stop the payment, or stop any subsequent payments going out.
  • Please be careful – lots of scammers want to steal from students and will try many different means, especially now your new instalment of student loan has dropped.

[i] National Fraud Intelligence Bureau

Stay as safe as you can

Student Advice

Helen Abrahams • January 11, 2024

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