Credit Card Scam Targeting International Students

Alert Date: 08/05/2019

Higher education institutions continues to discover credit card scam targeting international students.  In this scam, a third party contacts students via social media (i.e., WeChat) or in person offering to secure an advantageous currency exchange rate if the third party makes a credit card payment on behalf of the student.  The student provides access to their student account (user ID and password), and the third party logs in as the student to makes the payment. When the student sees that their balance is paid, they transfer payment to the third party.  Because the third party is using stolen credit cards to make payments, several weeks can pass before it is discovered that the payment made by the third party is fraudulent. Students who fall victim to this scam can experience a significant loss of funds.

While it can be a common practice in some countries to use an “agent” or a third party to facilitate financial transactions, international students need to be aware that they can become victims of this new scam when approached by a third party offering to make a payment on their behalf to obtain a better currency exchange rate.

The University of Washington has contracted with Flywire and Western Union to securely accept and process payments from overseas. The recommended tuition payment methods are outlined on our Student Fiscal Services webpage.   

What can you do to avoid becoming a victim of a scam?

  • Do NOT disclose your student account access information (user ID and/or password) to anyone.
  • Do NOT respond to requests from people you do not know calling or emailing you and asking for money.
  • Do NOT respond to requests from individuals or third parties asking for specific forms of payment (for example, wire transfer, gift cards).
  • Do NOT wire funds to unknown individuals.
  • Do NOT disclose your personally identifiable information: name, social security number, date and place of birth, address, telephone number, etc.

If you believe you have been the victim of a scam in the United States, please contact your local police department or the UW Police.

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