Reports of Student Fraud
We have been informed of a number of incidences of fraud against students and a small number of Universities in England.
They seem to involve students being approached by intermediaries who offer to pay fees and other costs to Universities at a discounted rate, with the student in turn paying the intermediary.
However, the credit cards used by the intermediaries to pay the University are stolen, and so as well as the obvious criminality involved, this can leave the students concerned still liable for costs after having paid significant amounts to the intermediaries. The sums involved are at least £50,000 and police are investigating.
The Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) are unable at this stage to give NUS further information, such as the nature of the 'other costs', details about the type of students or institutions involved, or the geographic spread etc. Nevertheless, we wanted to highlight that these frauds were occurring so you can take any action you feel appropriate.
As Universities only have to report incidences of fraud where the loss exceeds £25,000 it's quite possible that a greater number of Universities have been affected. Similarly, as HEFCE is responsible only for England, it's not able to say whether or not Universities in Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland have encountered these frauds but again this is possible.
We wish to highlight these problems, and encourage you to check with the institution about the legitimacy of any 'discount deal' or intermediary before handing over money. If they are suspicious they should be reported to the police.
If you are aware of these cases please get in touch with firstname.lastname@example.org as soon as possible.
We will pass on further details from HEFCE as and when we are able to do so.