Visa Scam in the UK Targets Chinese Students

 Nottingham University, whose spokesperson called the scam appalling.Scammers are using bogus threats of deportation to coerce Chinese students studying in the UK into handing over tens of thousands of dollars, the Guardian reports. The scammers are posing as the Chinese government and imitating the police, telling the students that they’ve been implicated in a money-laundering case.

One of the victims said she was contacted by someone claiming to be from the Chinese embassy, who then transferred her to a video chat with a man dressed as a police officer. The student ended up handing over nearly £30,000 in what she believed was bail money.

“I thought it will ruin my life if I cannot tackle this case,” the student told the Guardian. “I was too scared to think of anything except crying because they told me at the beginning I can’t tell anyone, including parents, otherwise they will be implicated.”

There have been multiple similar cases over the summer in which Chinese students have lost large sums of money. Social engineering consultant Richard De Vere told the Guardian that the scammers are taking advantage of the victims’ fears.

“Social engineers prey on vulnerable victims that can be manipulated,” he said. “When they have focused their nefarious techniques on a wealthy foreign student the task has been made even easier and more rewarding than most. Drilling down to their individual fears – being sent home to China a failure, being sent to prison, being ejected from the UK – would all be fears that would work to manipulate and gain the upper hand.” A Nottingham University spokesperson called the scam appalling.

Scammers try to make victims feel isolated and scared so they don’t ask for help. In this case, the students realized they had been scammed after talking to university staff. New-school security awareness training is one of the best ways to help people recognize scams and seek assistance when they don’t know who to trust.

The Guardian has the story:

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