University students across the UK are being targeted in a malicious scam that can cost victims upwards of £1,000.
The scam, which has primarily targeted students after extra income works by having them sign up for high value smartphone contracts which they then pass on to a ‘company’.
The company is then supposed to pay the students a cash value each month that is worth more than monthly bill, helping students increase their earnings.
Of course, with student debt at an all-time high, hundreds of students have seen the company fail to pay up, leaving the youngsters with a hefty monthly bill to cover with no phone to show for it.
Not only do students have to pay for the phone contract themselves, there are also fears arising of identity fraud coupling the bills, with students asked to divulge sensitive information to the company for supposed payment.
The scam has also been compounded by students having taken out multiple contracts in an effort to see higher monthly cash payments, resulting in one student being in over £10,000 debt.
It’s thought that hundreds or possibly thousands of students have already fallen victim to the scam, which has predominantly targeted establishments in the South East of the UK, but has grown over recent weeks to cover a number of UK universities.
Over 20 arrests have already been made by the Metropolitan Police, but the possibility of further scams are likely, meaning students should be vigilant if approached with this form of arrangement.
Many victims were reportedly coerced into the deal by a charismatic sales pitch from a convincing ‘company executive’.
Details about handsets used in the scam or specific networks or stores haven’t been divulged, but it isn’t thought to be focused on certain devices or companies.
Students are being asked to remain vigilant over the coming months of such deals, and have been asked to report suspect behaviour to their local police in an effort to catch other scammers.
The Met Police has also asked students to ensure that all sensitive information including bank details are withheld unless you can confirm where it’s going.
Also, if you think you’ve been tricked into a deal similar to this, you’re asked to check your credit rating and contact the police and your bank.
Currently, according to BBC reports, approximately 12 universities across the UK have been affected, with over 350 students owing money.
The National Mobile Phone Crime Unit (NMPCU) has confirmed that it has written to a number of UK based institutions and is working closely with affected universities and mobile network operators to ensure that the people behind the scam are brought to justice.
For more information about the scam, or if you think you’ve fallen victim, you can get more information on the NMPCU website here.Luke Hatfield