Protect yourself from fraud

Be aware that a number of international students in the UK have been targeted by fraudsters, pretending to work for the Home Office UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI), an embassy, the police, or another official authority in their home country.

What to look out for

Fraudsters contact international students by phone, email, text or WeChat and say there’s a problem with their visa or tell them they are suspected of a crime, for example money laundering. The fraudsters usually ask for payment and personal information. Students have lost significant amounts of money through these scams.

Be ready to say “no” and end the conversation immediately if you are called or contacted by someone claiming to be from the Home Office UKVI, an embassy, or an official authority in your home country who asks for money or personal details.

The person contacting you will use different ways to trick you, for example:

  • They may sound very convincing.
  • They may appear to be contacting you from a genuine Home Office or official authority telephone number/email address.
  • They may already have some personal information about you.
  • They may say you have done something wrong or there is a problem.
  • They may say a payment is needed urgently (in order to try to pressure you into paying).
  • They may ask you to confirm or provide personal information and bank details.

What to remember

  • The Home Office UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) will NEVER phone a student to ask for additional payment or personal details. So be confident to end a call immediately.
  • A legitimate organisation will always allow you to take advice before you respond to a request from them.
  • It’s essential to say “no”, end the call/contact and get advice from the university. 

What to do if you’ve received a suspicious phone call/contact or you’re targeted for fraud

If you receive a suspicious call/contact or you are worried, get help and advice from one of these services:
Student Visa Advice
Student Information Service
Leeds University Union Advice

Tel: +44 (0)113 380 1400

More information about frauds and scams targeting international students: