The UK’s national reporting centre for fraud and cyber crime Action Fraud has said scammers are contacting overseas students and visitors via their mobile phone or social media posing as representatives of UK or foreign law enforcement.
After fraudsters have claimed to work with their respective embassy or government, they tell the victim that there is evidence in the form of forged documentation or parcels which implicate them in a crime such as money laundering, fraud or immigration offences.
They then demand personal details before threatening the victim by suggesting there is a warrant for their arrest which will result in their deportation and imprisonment.
Victims are told to transfer a payment in order to cancel the arrest or pay a fine.
Action Fraud said once the money is transferred, all contact between the victim and the fraudster is severed.
It has released the following advice to combat this new scam:
- Police will never ask you to withdraw to transfer money so “it can be checked”, neither would they demand money to in order to cancel an arrest.
- Do not be tricked into giving a fraudster access to your personal or financial details no matter who they say they are; protect your information and have the confidence to question and refuse unusual requests.
- If you have made a payment to someone claiming to be the police or government department, and you think you might be a victim of fraud, you can report it to Action Fraud any time of the day or night using our online fraud reporting tool. You can also get advice about fraud or cyber-crime by calling 0300 123 2040.
- If you are a student you can ask your Student Union or University for advice, help and support.