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It’s important to protect yourself from international student scams when you are studying abroad.
The rise of the internet has made these even more common and difficult to identify.
Here are 4 international student scams that you need to be aware of and what to do if they happen to you.
It can be scary looking for accommodation in a place you are new to, and sadly accommodation scams are among the most common scams targeting international students.
Sometimes students are shown accommodation and then asked to pay a deposit and first month’s rent. When the student then returns to the property, the key they were given doesn’t actually work and there’s no sign of the landlord.
Other times students will find a property online and begin communicating with the owner who then asks for a holding or viewing fee.
As you can imagine, once this is paid, all communications stop and the owner vanishes.
What to do:
There are a lot of international student scams, but visa cons are becoming much more common. This is a type of fraud that specifically targets international students and happens across the world.
It can also happen in many different ways. Many students use visa services to process their visas. These are common and most are perfectly genuine, but there are certainly some that are not.
It’s important to do your own research so you know what you do and don’t need to pay for. At the very start of the process ask the visa service about the stages and the payments needed along the way.
If this starts to change as soon as the process begins, it could be a scam.
Another type of visa scam comes over the phone. You might receive a call telling you that there is a problem with your visa application and that a payment or even a fine is needed otherwise it cannot continue.
Let’s be very clear here. If your student visa application is going through the correct channels, they will NEVER call you and ask for an extra payment.
What to do:
It’s very likely that once you settle into a new country you might start looking for a job. While job scams aren’t hugely common, they are still something you need to be aware of.
Sometimes people are promised jobs then asked to give lots of personal information including bank details and copies of identification which can be used to steal your identity.
The problem is that most legitimate jobs will ask to do the same, so how can you tell the difference?
What to do:
To find out how you can get a job alongside your studies, check out our knowledge base for full guidance.
This is a scam that has been around for a while and targets everybody. You might receive an email one day from a complete stranger telling you a barely believable story about how they need to move money out of a foreign country.
The scam makes it sound very appealing by offering you a huge sum of money for simply letting them use your bank account for a few days.
This is too good to be true you tell yourself - and it really is. They will normally ask you to make some kind of deposit beforehand and once you do, you will never hear from that person again.
Another money scam is when criminals approach people and ask them to take stolen money before moving it on to another bank account. This is money laundering and you could well find yourself with a criminal record if you do it.
What to do:
If you believe you have been a victim of a scam, it’s important to report it as quickly as possible. It is probably a good idea to contact your university and your bank if it involves financial information, but also you should report the crime.
Scams are an unfortunate part of our society these days. It’s important to be aware of the telltale signs of these scams so you can avoid them.
A good way to think about it is, does something sound too good to be true? If the answer is yes, take a long hard look at what you are about to do - and be careful.
Don’t let scams scare you, we’re here to help. Find your perfect course and university today.
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