Student fraud

Criminals sometimes target students through scams and online fraud. Find out what to watch out for and how to protect yourself.

On this page:

Fraudulent messages - phishing

Students are often targeted with fraudulent messages from scammers. This is called phishing. Unfortunately, some students have lost large amounts of money.

Scammers attempt to get money from you or trick you into sharing personal information. This could be:

Messages can be online, by email, social media, or telephone. They are common around the time you start university.

These messages are often disguised as communications from recognised UK organisations such as:

A scammer may pretend to be from your government or embassy or the police. They use a variety of methods which may include telling you that you or your family are under some form of criminal investigation. This could be a money-laundering investigation.

How to avoid fraudulent messages

What to do if you receive suspicious messages

If you receive any messages you're unsure about:

Payment of tuition fees scams

There are scams that offer to make tuition fee payments for you. They offer discounts or reduced exchange rates.

This may include online third-party companies offering to process online international payments to send to the University of Bristol. We have official arrangements with some third-party companies. Check which third-party companies are on this list. If the company contacting you is not on this list be very careful.

Private accommodation scams

Each year a small number of students are scammed when trying to rent private accommodation.

If you're looking for properties on the internet be careful. Don’t send money to anyone advertising properties online until you know the advertiser is genuine.

Before you start looking read our factsheet on avoiding scams and renting safely (PDF 232 kb).

If you think you have been scammed

If you think you've been scammed, report it to the UK Police immediately.

Support if you have been scammed

If you have been affected by scamming and need help, support or advice, you can request wellbeing support and we will connect you to the right support or service.