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Phone 'scam' targets Indian and Pakistani students

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The UK Council for International students affairs (UKCISA) has recently reported a series of phone scams, targeting international students, particularly from India and Pakistan. The ‘scammers’ claim to work for the UKBA and use the victim’s personal information to catch their attention.

According to the council, it has been reported by various universities that students who are going through visa extensions or applications, or simply are currently studying in the UK are receiving calls that requests them to make a payment in order to avoid further complications with the visa applications.

The UKCISA states that these calls are not from the UKBA and advises on how to identify them:  ‘The caller may appear to be genuine and convincing, because they have some limited information about you. Typically, the caller will know your passport number, as well as your telephone number and your name. They will say that there is a serious problem with your immigration status, and that you need to send a payment by Western Union as soon as possible to prevent further action or investigation by the UKBA.’ 

The Pie News reports that it is unclear how students’ personal information has been obtained, but some believe fraudsters have accessed information given by students when applying for mobile phones or through online jobsites.

If you are targeted by these calls, the UK Council for International Students affairs advises the following :

  • Do not give the caller any personal information, nor confirm that any information they have is correct. Do not make any payment.
  • You may wish to tell the caller that you know about the fraudulent calls they are making, and that you will be reporting the call to the police and the UKBA . Or you may wish to simply hang up.
  • Report the incident to your international student adviser, who can report the fraud to the police and to the UKBA if you wish.
  • If you wish, you can report the matter online to Action Fraud
  • You can also help other potential victims of this fraud by adding details of your experience to the page about this fraud on the Who Calls Me website

Find out more in the UKBA website.

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