Chinese students are being offered to have their tuition fees paid at a discounted rate by using a ‘third-party facilitator’.
The Dedicated Card and Payment Crime Unit (DCPCU) has reported that Chinese students are being targeted both in-person and via WeChat. International students are more frequently targeted due to their unfamiliarity with the fee system in the UK. Fraudsters apply pressure to the students by offering attractive exchange rates which will soon expire, encouraging them to act quickly.
Who is affected?
Any international student could be affected by this scam, but it appears that Chinese students are currently being targeted. How is the fraud carried out?
Students are being approached in-person and through WeChat to pay discounted tuition fees though a third party. Students are then pressured to share personal details in order for the fraudster to ‘pay on their behalf’, this can include:
- their student ID
- date of birth
- student portal login
The fraudsters pay the student’s fees to the university using stolen credit cards and provide the students with a “receipt”. The student then reimburses the money to the fraudsters though WeChat Pay, or directly in cash to a contact. Since the fraudsters use a stolen credit card, the university does not receive the fees and so this often means that the students have to pay their tuition money twice – once to the fraudsters and once to the university
How to protect yourself
- Be wary of approaches made on WeChat.
- Only pay tuition fees directly to the university and not through third-parties.
- Report any suspicious contacts to the university.
- Don’t share personal information or login details.
- Don’t be pressured into making payments because of an ‘offer expiring’.
- Don’t pay any type of tuition fee in cash to individuals or contacts through WeChat.
If you have been affected by this, or have any queries, please contact AskBU for further guidance.