South Yorkshire Police's Fraud Co-ordination Team has issued a warning urging international students either moving to Sheffield to commence or returning to complete their studies to be vigilant against fraudsters.
Known scams, which target mainly Chinese students studying at universities and colleges across the UK, see the victim receive a call from the fraudster who claims to be from one of a number of official sounding organisations, such as the Chinese Embassy, Immigration or Customs Services, the Chinese Police, or Royal Mail. They claim they are investigating international crimes and require the victim to transfer large sums of money to an account in China to be checked.
In some cases, the criminals will use threats to encourage the victim to co-operate and state the victim must not tell anyone about the incident.
DS Sam Erabadda, from the Fraud Coordination Team, said: “The criminals who carry out this fraudulent activity are very convincing and use threats to frighten and trick innocent students, many of whom have only recently arrived in the UK, into transferring large amounts of money overseas
“We know in some circumstances the fraudsters may have access to personal information belonging to the victim, making their ability to deceive students into thinking they are calling from an official organisation easier.
“The scammers carrying out this activity are professionals and are operating across the country. I’d really encourage everyone to spread the word about scams like this, especially those within the student community in Sheffield, to prevent you or your loved ones from becoming victims in the first place."
If you have been a victim of this scam, you should report it to Action Fraud, the UK's national fraud and cybercrime reporting centre, by calling 0300 123 2040 or online at actionfraud.police.uk
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