Money Scams, Tricks and Frauds

Salford is generally a safe place to study but students at any university need to be vigilant about being targeted by fraudsters. Unfortunately, some criminals may attempt to target you for purposes of Money Fraud. These attempts can be an introduction in person, via social media or a messaging service. They may claim an opportunity is for a limited time so that you act quickly, with little time to stay safe by investigating further.

Where to go for advice

If someone contacts you and it seems unusual or unexpected, contact our Payment Security Compliance team at who can offer you some advice.  

Remember - If the person who contacted you are genuine then they won’t mind you checking and then getting back to them. 

Safe ways to pay your fees

All students are advised to pay online on the university payments page directly themselves or by international bank transfer using Flywire. You can find further information on our Tuition fees page.

Further fraud information can be found at both: UKCISA for money fraud and UKGOV for Visa Frauds.

Here are some important tips to help keep you and your money safe: 

  • Only ever use the University recommended payment methods to pay your tuition fees.  
  • Do not allow anyone other than a close family member or friend to pay tuition fees on your behalf.   
  • Do not accept offers to help pay your tuition fees from so called ‘Payment Agents’ unless recommended by the university.   
  • Never share your bank account or debit/credit card details with anyone unless you know and can trust them. 
  • Never email your credit or debit card details to anyone, not even the University.   
  • Be wary of offers of easy money. If it sounds too good to be true, then it probably is.
  • Be observant for communications like ads and emails with bad spelling and grammar.
  • Don’t allow someone that you do not know or trust to transfer money through your bank account.
  • If you receive suspicious texts, do not reply, or click any links.
  • Be mindful of the information you share about yourself online. 

External Resources 

Further useful information and videos about fraud affecting students can be found at: 

Crooks on Campus  

Money Mule website  

Greater Manchester Police  


For Visa Frauds see UKGOV  

Money scams

Accommodation and tuition fees scam

We have been alerted to a social engineering scam targeting students in university accommodation at UK universities. The scammers are currently impersonating students' specific university and making outbound calls to students. They are using snippets of information to convince students they have a residence or tuition payment due. They have certain information that makes the calls seem legitimate, which can include residence details, name etc. They have used this information to convince students to divulge credit/debit card details and to make direct fraudulent payments to them.

If you receive one of these calls, you can end the call by saying you want to verify it with the University. We recommend you then contact askUS to verify whether you have been contacted. Do not give any bank details or card details out over the phone. If you have, please contact your bank or card issuer to report the fraud as soon as possible.

Being asked to be a money mule

You may be asked to receive some money into your bank account and transfer to another account, keeping some for yourself. Don’t be fooled by quick cash offers. Be very wary of anyone, including someone you know, who asks you to do this. 

This may be a fraud called ‘Money Laundering’ and is used to fund serious criminal activities. Money Laundering is a criminal offence and may land you in serious trouble with the Police, affect your credit rating and result in your bank accounts being frozen. Keep yourself safe by: 

  • Never opening a bank account in your name for someone else.
  • Never allowing your bank account to be used to send and receive funds for other people.
  • Never sharing your PINs, passwords or passcodes with anyone unless you know and trust them.
  • Never allowing anyone to use your bank account if you no longer need it. Always contact the bank to close your account when finished with it. 

Read more about this scam on the Money Mule website. The HMRC has issued useful guidance on how you can protect yourself from becoming a money mule and who to contact if you have any concerns.

Chinese censorship and crime scams

Recently there have been reports of Chinese students being coerced into believing that they have contravened China's censorship, or committed a crime. The scammer in some cases has pretended to be a Chinese Policeman or from organisations such as The NCA (National Crime Agency).
The initial scam may start out from a telephone call regarding a parcel stating from DHL or a Fake Royal Mail's with the following number quoted Tel: 0843 586 3924. Then the fraudster uses aggressive tactics convincing the victim that they have contravened China's censorship, or committed a crime and then asks them to ask their family members to send them money, sometimes vast amounts.

Further information, including how to report the scam can be found in the leaflet below:

Frauds relating to the invasion of Ukraine

Please be aware that we are currently seeing some increased cyber security incidents and phishing activity relating the situation in Ukraine. We’d like to remind everyone to be vigilant.  

It is common for hackers to use the latest news story to trick you into opening their messages and clicking on links or opening attachments. We have seen an increase in phishing through email, SMS, and social media related to the situation in Ukraine. These can be messages asking for you to contribute to aid funds, sign petitions, or read the latest news. If you receive an email, text, or social media post with an attachment or asking you to click on a link that has no relevance to you and/or you don’t recognise the sender, please do not open the attachment or follow any links. 

If you receive any messages of this nature to your University email, please click the ‘Report Message’ button in Outlook. By clicking the 'Report Message' button, the email will be safely deleted from your mailbox, and IT will be informed. 

HMRC scam calls targeting international students

We have received reports of a scam involving calls from telemarketers claiming to be from HMRC (Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs) stating that the University has not paid HMRC tax that you owe. The caller then states that you must pay a lump sum of money and threaten that, if the sum is not paid, you risk deportation and your studies being ceased. The callers have told students not to ask anyone at the University about any outstanding tax payments and not to mention this payment to friends or family. The caller may address you by your name and may provide a ‘badge ID number’.

This is a scam – do not pay any money. HMRC will never call you directly to ask for money and will never ask you to pay any money on behalf of the University. HMRC provide information about scams and phishing attempts on their website.

If you received a call similar to this or ever receive a call from anyone you don’t know asking for money on behalf of the University, please email Income and Treasury at the University.

Purchasing currency via non-regulated markets

We have a responsibility to make you aware that by purchasing currency via non-regulated markets you are opening yourself up to a risk of being perceived by UK authorities to be engaging in a form of money laundering.

RedZei phone scam

This is a scam targeted at Chinese-speaking students. Students are being targeted by a group dubbed RedZei (or RedThief) who call victims once or twice a month from a unique UK-based phone number, leaving an "unusual" automated voicemail message if the receiver does not answer.

These voicemail messages are to socially engineer victims into giving up personal information, which can then be used for identity theft or for other malicious purposes. The scammers are known to impersonate trusted organisations including the NHS and delivery firm DHL.

Student Loan Company or Accommodation Payment Fraud

Fraudsters target students, especially around loan payment dates, posing as the Student Loans Company (SLC) or accommodation providers. They ask for personal information or to pay money. This can be over an email, text message, phone call or on social media. 

Messages are often designed to create a sense of urgency such as 'failure to respond in 24 hours will result in your account being closed'. They may also address you as 'student' rather than your first and last name. 

The SLC or your accommodation provider will never ask you to confirm your login and password, or ask for bank details or personal information by email. Please be vigilant and do not disclose personal information or follow links. Check the government guide to identifying a phishing scam for more information. 

Swooshtransfer (WooshPay)

Swooshtransfer Ltd (WooshPay) is claiming to help international students pay their tuition and accommodation fees securely to the University of Salford. Do not use this site to pay any fees - they are not authorised by the University. 

Task Job Scams

Task job scams are a type of recruitment scam where you are instructed to perform relatively simple tasks such as reviewing a product in a supermarket, watching a video, or liking a post in return for payment. Fraudsters tend to approach victims on WhatsApp or Telegram.

A red flag to watch for is that payment for task scams is often offered in cryptocurrency. You are given details of a wallet or program where you can watch payment increase, but these are often fake, and the scammer controls any money in the wallet. They might ask you to pay in to the wallet or a bank account to access ‘Premium Tasks’, but you will never see any money come back to you. Genuine companies would not ask you to make advance payments in return for work or offer pay in Crypto currency. 

If you are approached about doing a ‘Task job’ and are unsure if its genuine or not, you can: 

  • Check the company’s details on Companies House to see if they are a genuine company and that the details match up to what you already have. 

  • Contact the company directly (get the contact details yourself from their website using a Google search) to confirm it is a legitimate job advert. 

  • Check any links you are sent to ensure they are a genuine company and not fake links.

  • Check for spelling mistakes in any correspondence. Professional genuine companies would have correct grammar and spelling.  

Students are looking for ways to make extra cash, which is being exploited by the scammers – the most important thing to remember is that, if the offer seems too good to be true, it probably is. 

If you are ever unsure whether a job offer is genuine, call the number on the back of your bank card and speak to your bank’s fraud team, or email the university at 

Third Party Tuition Payer Scam

Third Party Payer Scam is a scam that can affect any student.  

Students are targeted by fraudsters who offer to pay your tuition fees at a discounted exchange rate, sometimes up to 20%. 

The fraudsters may contact you via 'friends of friends', social media platforms or even on the streets in cities’ and offer these discounted ‘exchange’ rates if you agree immediately. 

You will be asked to pay money to the fraudster, who will then pay the University. Sometimes the fraudster even pays the University before you pay them, they then show you the email receipt to prove its paid. This is a method used to lure you into the scam by giving you confidence that the fee is paid. 

The fraudsters are in fact using compromised (stolen) debit/credit card details to pay your fees to the University. These payments are then reported as fraudulent by the genuine card holder and recalled by the bank, meaning the money is taken back from the University leaving you in debt with your tuition fees and out of pocket. 

Never agree to pay your fees in this way. To be safe you must always pay your fees using University recommended payment methods. 

Further information can be found in the following leaflets: 

UNICEF Fraudulent Job Offers

The university has been made aware of students being offered fictitious jobs for UNICEF. 

Fraudulent job offer correspondence is sent to students, may appear legitimate, with a UNICEF logo, appear to originate from an official-looking email address or web site, or may be sent by individuals purporting to represent UNICEF or an entity which includes the word UNICEF in its name.  

These fraudulent schemes mislead students with the purpose to extract money and/or personal information. 

It’s important to state that UNICEF do not charge a fee at any stage of the recruitment process (application, interview, meeting, traveling, processing, training, or any other fees), and do not request any banking information.  

For further information please see: Beware of fraudulent job offers | UNICEF Careers 

If you have received any such correspondence, then please email  

Don't Be Fooled 

Watch this quick video below to find out more about the dangers of being a money mule. 

UK Finance video