Scam warning

Because students are off campus and studying online, the University is currently contacting students by phone to check-in and offer support. This is not a scam. We will not request your bank account details or ask you to transfer money.

Scams targeting international students

Be aware of people (scammers) claiming to be officials from the Chinese Embassy, Consulate-General, Police or other Government agencies contacting students via mobile phone, WeChat or WhatsApp.

The scammers may:

  • Demand money, and threaten students with police arrest, University expulsion, deportation from Australia or legal action if they don’t pay
  • Verbally pressure, intimidate and threaten students to stay on the phone, not contact their family or friends, and transfer money into a third party bank account.

Scammers use technology to ‘mask’ their phone number so it appears they’re calling from the Chinese Embassy, Consulate, Police or other Government agencies. They instruct students to go online and check the phone number is the same as these organisations for verification. They then encourage students to continue communication through encrypted applications such as WeChat and WhatsApp.

If you or anyone you know receive a phone call of this or a similar threatening nature, do not act on it. Contact the Safer Community Program immediately.

Virtual kidnapping scam

There have been some cases in Australia where scammers phone students and pressure them to fake their own ‘virtual kidnapping’.

Students are first threatened not to contact their family or friends and then instructed to rent a hotel room and take photographs or make video recordings of themselves that depict them as being kidnapped. These photos are then uploaded and sent to the student’s parents and relatives overseas with threats and demands for large ransom payments in exchange for the student’s ‘release’.

If you or anyone you know receive a phone call of this or a similar threatening nature, do not act on it. Contact the Safer Community Program immediately.

COVID-19 Scams

Students have also received phone calls, text messages and emails from scammers pretending to be from the World Health Organization and government agencies, wanting to steal personal information, seek donations and install malicious software.

If you or anyone you know receive a phone call of this or a similar nature, do not act on it. Contact the Safer Community Program immediately.

What to do if a scammer phones you or another student you know

  • Hang up the phone. Don’t talk to the scammer.
  • Never tell anyone your bank account or passport details over the phone unless you have made the call yourself. The Chinese Embassy and Consulate-General have confirmed with Victoria Police that they would never call Chinese citizens asking for this information.
  • Phone University Security on +61 3 8344 6666 (24 hours, 7 days a week).
  • Phone the University’s Safer Community Program on +61 3 9035 8675 (9am-5pm, Monday to Friday).
  • Contact Victoria Police 1800 333 000, or for urgent assistance phone 000.