What is the scam?
This scam involves a third party offering you a discount on your tuition fees if you pay your fees to them rather than paying the university directly.
You will then receive proof of a payment made to the University with a credit card (usually stolen).
The credit card holder will then dispute the payment and the university will contact you to advise that your tuition fees remain unpaid.
The scammer then keeps the money that you paid them, and you are left with a debt to the University.
How does the scammer target students?
- A friend may recommend the third party to you without knowing it’s a scam; or
- The third party will contact you through online chat platforms or random phone calls; or
- You will receive an email from a third party proclaiming to be in partnership with the University and offering you a discount on tuition fees.
What are the consequences of paying tuition fees to a third party?
- You will have a tuition fee debt with the University.
- You are unlikely to recover the money you paid to the third party.
- You may be unable to enrol in the following semester due to your tuition fee debt.
- This may have consequences for your student visa.
Where can I get help if I’ve been scammed?
- If you think that you have given your bank account details or money to a scammer, contact your bank immediately.
- Report it to police. If you need urgent help, contact 000.
- You can report your scam to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) on the Report a Scam webpage at www.scamwatch.gov.au/report-a-scam .
There are support services at university too which can help you:
- La Trobe University provides students with free legal advice
- Safer Community – Provides safety and wellbeing support – Call 03 9479 8988 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- International Student Services – Provides a range of support to international students – Call (03) 9479 1199.
- Never pay tuition fees to a third party.
- If you believe you have been scammed contact your bank immediately.
- Get help early.