Student scams

Fraudsters and criminals can target anyone, even young people and students.

We explain how to keep yourself and your money safe.


Fraudsters target students

Fraudsters and criminals know that students may be more vulnerable because they’re away from home or in need of financial help. 

They may try to convince you to become a money mule or pretend to be someone that likes you on a dating app or website.

Fraudsters are constantly looking for new ways to target you with a scam.

Learn the methods fraudsters use so you know how to protect yourself.

Avoid becoming a money mule

Never let anyone use your account

Criminals want to move money through your bank account to remove any trace of crime. This can happen online or with cash payments.

They might tempt you with an offer to make some quick cash. But if you help them, you become a money mule. This is a crime. You can be made to leave your course and go to prison for up to 14 years. 

Keep your bank card, PIN and Internet Banking details private to stop others from getting access.

It's not a job, it’s a crime

Some money mules have no idea they’re doing anything illegal. 

Criminals post adverts on social media to convince them it’s a job, money making scheme or currency exchange deal. 

They can also visit your college or university to try to convince you in person. 

Always research any job or offer. Be suspicious if it’s too good to be true.

Report anyone who tries to recruit you

If someone wants you to move money for them and become a money mule, contact: 

Tell your bank if criminals have your personal or banking details, then visit Action Fraud or call them on 0300 123 2040.

Other ways fraudsters can target you

Scam emails and texts

If fraudsters get your email address or phone number, they can pretend to be a genuine company to message you about things like your student loan payment.

Scam messages normally use offers, deadlines or threats to make you follow a fake link without thinking. 

Always check an email address matches a sender’s name. Tap it on a mobile or hover your computer’s mouse cursor over it.

If you want to contact a sender, use a phone number you trust, not one from a message.

You can make sure a link is genuine by using a website checker such as Get Safe Online.

Avoid scam emails and texts

Romance scams

Fraudsters create social media and dating profiles to target you so they can steal your money.  

They pretend to be other people and will find any excuse to avoid meeting you in person or on a video call. 

Use a reverse image search online to check if their profile photo is genuine. 

You’ll know it’s a romance scam when they ask you to send them some money.

Avoid romance scams

Advance fee scams

Fraudsters know that students want to find a good property deal, so they post fake adverts online.

They‘ll pressure you to pay a fee upfront to take the property off the market but will steal your money.

If you want to find a genuine property, always use a trustworthy company, agent or landlord. Your university or college may be able to recommend someone.

View a property before you pay any fees or a deposit.

Make sure your deposit is protected by a government-approved tenancy deposit scheme.

Avoid advance fee scams


Stay safe when buying online

Pay by card

Fraudsters use social media, especially Facebook Marketplace and Instagram to sell items that don’t exist.

They usually want you to pay by bank transfer because it’s like handing them cash and difficult to recover.

Be suspicious if a seller or website won’t let you pay by card, or any other way that protects your money.

Go to see an item

If you want to buy something on social media, try to see it in person before you pay. 

A genuine seller will let you visit, but a fraudster won’t. 

Fraudsters will tell you things like somebody else wants to buy the item to pressure you into a quick sale.

Too good to be true?

Fraudsters often sell items like mobile phones and tickets at lower than normal prices, especially if they’re hard to find or sold out elsewhere.

Always look for reviews you can trust to make sure a website or seller is genuine.

Find out more on how to buy online safely.

Learn about other scams and how to protect yourself

Learn about the latest scams

Fraudsters are always looking for new ways to try to steal your details and money. Discover which scams are common right now.

Go to latest scams

Have you been targeted by fraudsters?

Contact us right away if you think you've been scammed. We can then guide you on what to do next.

Contact us now

Stay scam safe

Learn how to spot and avoid scams, and how to report fraud.

Protect yourself from fraud

Stay scam safe

Learn how to spot and avoid scams, and how to report fraud.

Protect yourself from fraud