New Students

Protect yourself against fraud

Important to know how to protect yourself against fraud


Fraud or a SCAM is a fraudulent scheme performed by a dishonest individual, group, or company in an attempt to obtain money or something else of value.  Anyone can be targeted and everyone is at risk so it is important you learn how to recognise a fraud and protect yourself against them.

Frauds are now very sophisticated (and can be complex) using impersonation techniques, stolen data or personal details from social media to make you believe what they say is genuine. Frauders may think you are an easy target because you are away from home, family and friends. You may be unfamiliar with local laws or not know where to go for help and advice.

Protect yourself against scams

It is important you learn how to recognise a fraud and protect yourself against them.

Advice to be aware of from the start of University

  • Question any unexpected contact - this includes phone calls, letters, emails or people knocking on your door who you do not recognise
  • Don’t rush into a decision about anything, if it sounds too good to be true, it usually is!
  • If in doubt, speak to someone you trust

 Fraud Prevention - Video by Police Scotland and the Chinese Consulate

Making payments

  • Don’t assume everyone is genuine. If someone attempts to pressurise you into accepting a service or requesting money upfront, they are unlikely to be genuine.
  • It’s okay to reject, refuse or ignore requests. Only criminals will try and rush or panic you.
  • Only purchase goods and services from legitimate retailers and always take a moment before parting with your money or personal information

Money Laundering

Money laundering is the illegal process of making large amounts of money generated by criminal activity appear to have come from a legitimate source. The money generated from the criminal activity is considered ‘dirty’ and the process ‘launders’ it to make it look ‘clean’.

Some students are being approached and may be pressured into taking part in this activity, involving paying large sums of cash into their bank accounts before being transferred out. 

Police Scotland is aware of a number of occasions where this has happened and we urge students in this activity to be aware that participation in this activity may be illegal and to stop immediately.

Money laundering is a criminal offense. If prosecuted, you could face a lengthy custodial sentence.

Range of useful advice about scams and frauds (Police Scotland website)

IT security 

  • Never give out personal information and watch what you share on social media - this can be used to steal your identity and access accounts
  • Keep mobiles devices, operating systems and virus protection software up to date
  • Make sure all accounts have a strong password and change them regularly
  • Use safe and secure WiFi connections and avoid public WiFi. Your standard 3G or 4G connection is often more secure than the one in the coffee shop or restaurant
  • Make sure any websites you are using are secure - check to see if the web address starts with HTTPS, not just HTTP


Police Scotland - Student Safety Videos

Watch the following videos created by Police Scotland for students. The videos provide guidance, advice, and support about staying safe, whether it be on campus, online or at a social event.

Video: Police Scotland - Student Safety Advice and Support
These videos provide you with guidance, help, support, and advice to keep safe as a student. The videos have been created by Police Scotland to highlight student safety.

Relevant Links 

Money Management | The University of Edinburgh

Pay your fees | The University of Edinburgh

Your Essential Top 6 Tasks | The University of Edinburgh

Get ready for University | The University of Edinburgh