There are wide spread financial deceptions or ‘scams’ targeting international students, particularly those from China.

One scam offers to pay for the students’ tuition fees in Australian dollars after you transfer the Chinese Yuan to their bank account. They then share the money saved by not having to pay bank fees. Sometimes the scammers will do this for smaller bills, like mobile phones, or internet, to gain your confidence, before stealing your money. A similar scam used stolen credit cards to pay the fees, but when the legitimate card holders reported it to the bank, the University refunded that money to the card holder, leaving the student with that debt.

Another scam encouraged or coerced students into telling their parents they had been kidnapped so that they could share in the ransom money from their parents. This is very illegal and should be reported to the Police straight away.

Accommodation scams are very common, where students pay for a room before inspecting it, without meeting with the person renting the room, getting their full legal name, and without a written contract (in English). If you pay any money, do it in person, and ask the landlord for photo ID, e.g., a driver’s licence. Get a receipt and email a photo of it to yourself, so that you always have a copy. Never, ever, pay for your accommodation using money transfer services like Western Union.

For more information on scams go to: www.scamwatch.gov.au.