Students urged to be vigilant against phone scams

27 March 2019

Students are once again being urged to exercise caution over phone calls asking them to hand over money.

ANU is aware of a scam that appears to be targeting the University's international students, and in some cases, has left them and their families out of pocket by up to $70,000.

What is the scam?

It's believed the scammers are operating outside Australia. They contact victims - largely international students - telling them they are allegedly implicated in crimes such as money laundering in China. The scammers then coerce the victims into a series of actions and make threats that their families in China will be harmed if they don't cooperate. Similar versions of this scam have been reported in other countries including Canada, New Zealand, Singapore and the United States. More information about the scam can be found on the Scam Watch website

The Embassy of the People's Republic of China in Australia have released a warning agaist the telephone scam on 20 March 2019 and can be found here

ACT Policing have provided updated information on the scam which can be found here.

What does it mean for you?

It is important for you to be aware and vigilant in identifying potential scams on yourself or others.

"Even if you are not an international student, we urge you to keep an eye out for your friends who may be targeted by these scams," said ANU Vice-Chancellor Professor Brian Schmidt.

"Please share this information about this scam to them and help us get the word out to these students directly."

Professor Schmidt reiterated that international students can trust ANU staff and Australian authorities when they report these types of incidents.

"By reporting these incidents, students are doing their bit to make sure that others may not become victims of this crime."

What can you do to protect yourself?

The Australian Government's Scamwatch website includes tips you can follow to protect yourself.

Importantly, if you get called by someone making threats about arrest or deportation, be mindful that it is likely a scam. Do not send them any money. Instead, hang up the phone immediately and report the call. Never give your personal, credit card or online account details over the phone.

Students who think they may have already been scammed, or have concerns that their identity has been compromised, are being urged to contact IDCARE. If you are under immediate threat or have concern for your safety you should contact the police on 000.

What other support is available to you?

ANU has support available to students. 

For more information on support services at ANU call 6125 2442 or visit the ANU Counselling website.


For life threatening emergencies first call 000

then dial ANU Security on 612 52249.

If you think you may have been scammed, the ACT Police can support you on 131 444

Student Central are available for advice and support on 135 268