Be Aware of Scams

June 5, 2019

There have been some recent reports on campus and across London, in particular in student neighbourhoods, about scams targeting International Students. A scam is a fraudulent scheme, especially for making a quick profit, to collect your money and/or personal information.

The most recent example of a scam that has targeted multiple international students is of a person posing as a student and asking international students (in particular those of Asian descent) to loan them money because their accounts have been locked (or any other excuse). The person will be very insistent, will sometimes follow students to an ATM to withdraw funds. The person asks students for their email or phone number saying that they will contact them to return the money, however this never happens.

Examples of other recent scams that come via phone calls, texts or emails:

  • Individuals posing as government officials (Canada Revenue Agency, Immigration, their home embassy), police officers, and other government authorities. These individuals will usually use threatening language.
  • Claiming that you have won a prize or lottery
  • Claiming that a family member is in trouble and requests payment in cash or bitcoin
  • Requesting money transfer or payment in bitcoin
  • Claiming that your account will be closed if you do not update your information.

Scam and phishing attempts usually contain the following elements: a sense of immediacy and warnings that a negative action will occur if you do not provide what the scammers are asking for.

Protect yourself against phishing and scamming attempts.

As a reminder:

  • Do not provide any personal information or identification, including telephone numbers, names of family members, credit card information or similar
  • Use strong passwords for your accounts, and do not share them with others!
  • Add Campus Police contact information into your mobile phone (non-emergency 519-661-3300, emergency: call 911)
  • Keep in regular contact with family members. Set up a consistent timeframe for this contact.
  • Travel with others (students/friends/colleagues).
  • Let people (roommates/ classmates/ floormates/Residence staff) know where you are going and expected time of return.

Western encourages students to notify authorities if you or your friends have been the target of a scam:

For more information about staying safe on campus, in London and online, visit IESC's Safety page and the London Police Service crime prevention page.

Additional information on scams is available at the links below: