Alert: UK Visa Scams

We can’t repeat it enough; please be ware of visa scammers and fraudsters! Unfortunately, there are still criminals out there that want to make quick money over the backs of hard working visa applicants; you don’t want to be their umpteenth victim!

UK visa scams: A few scenarios to look out for

–        If you’re offered a job and a visa and the deal sounds too good to be true, it’s probably a scam! Do not act upon it, do not give out/confirm your personal details, and do not pay any money! Example (but this is not the only one!): a hotel that offers a pay of £ 3,000 p/m for a relatively unskilled job. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is: stay away from it!

–        If an agent/visa consultant guarantees that you will get a visa, he or she is probably a fraudster. Agents and/or visa consultants can never (never) guarantee that a visa will be issued!

–        Please be ware that there are criminals advertising non-existent UK jobs on the internet. If you apply, you are told that they have a job for you and you will be directed to a link to pay for visa and work permit fees. This is a scam! Never pay any fees for visas to anyone other than to UKBA direct, or to one of its official commercial partners (WorldBridge, VFS Global) when applying for UK visas.

–        Please be ware that there are criminals calling people claiming that they are from the UK Border Agency, giving fake names and phone numbers and saying that there is a serious problem with your immigration status and that a payment is required to prevent further action. This is a scam! Do not (not) give out/confirm your personal details to these criminals and do not (not) pay them any money. Instead, consider reporting them to UKBA and/or the police!

–        Please be ware of anyone that requests for a payment of a deposit as proof that you have sufficient funds to support your stay in the UK. UKBA never (never) requests such deposits. This is a scam! Do not (not) give/confirm your personal details to these criminals and do not (not) pay them any money. Instead, consider reporting them to UKBA and/or the police!

–        Please be ware of scams offering seemingly lucrative au pair placements in the UK to Filipino nationals. Citizens of the Philippines do not (not) qualify as au pairs (or as Tier 5 temporary workers Youth Mobility Scheme to be more precise). This is a scam! Do not (not) give out or confirm any personal details and do not (not) pay any money!

–        There are stories all over the internet from people reporting that they were requested to transfer funds, purportedly for visa fees, by Western Union, MoneyGram and other money transfer services. UKBA never asks for any monies to be transferred via Western Union, MoneyGram etc.! This is a scam! Do not give out/confirm any personal details and do not pay them any money. Instead, consider reporting them to UKBA and/or the police!

–        On the internet, you can find many stories about people reporting how they received e-mails from people claiming to be UKBA staff using free e-mail accounts such as hotmail, yahoo and Gmail. UK government agencies do not (not) use free e-mail accounts! This is a scam! Ignore the e-mails. Do not give/confirm any personal details, and do not pay them any money. Instead, consider reporting them to UKBA and/or the police!

–        Look out for UK “contact” telephone numbers starting with 070 or 004470. These can be set up on the internet and answered anywhere in the world. They are so-called personal forwarding phone numbers. The country code, (the +44) looks as if the number is a UK-based number. The 70 prefix, however, identifies it as a personal forwarding number. The charges for the call (usually very high!), are billed to the caller, not to the recipient of the call. The scammer uses this free, portable number to fool you to believe that they are located in the UK, while he or she actually receives calls on an anonymous, prepaid cell phone elsewhere. The majority of such forwarding numbers (but not all) suggest a scam. It is certainly a sign to investigate further, especially when you are dealing with a visa agency, human resources/employment department, which would not normally use these numbers!!!

What can you do to avoid becoming a victim?

–        Always bear in mind the scenarios outlined above. The list is, unfortunately, far from complete. Criminals are very inventive and there are many more scam scenarios out there! The golden rule is to not (not) give out any personal information and/or make any payments if you are not 100% sure who you are dealing with.

–        Always check who you are dealing with before giving out/confirming any personal details. Check any names, e-mail addresses, telephone numbers, street addresses etc. provided. If you are not sure who you are dealing with do not (not) give/confirm your personal details and do not (not) pay them any money!

–        Never (never!) pay money in connection with visa applications to anyone else but UKBA or its official commercial partners that have been authorised to collect visa processing fees on its behalf (WorldBridge, VFS Global).

–        Please remember that the official UKBA website is: www.ukba.homeoffice.gov.uk. The website for the official UKBA on-line application and appointment booking service is: http://www.visa4uk.fco.gov.uk/. You should always check these website addresses in your browser to make sure that you are dealing with UKBA’s official websites and not with someone else.

–        Always bear in mind that UKBA internet and e-mail addresses follow the following format:

a)      Official UK government website always end with gov.uk

b)      Email addresses from UKBA staff based in the UK always follow this format: name.surname@UKBA.gsi.gov.ukor name.surname@homeoffice.gsi.gov.uk

c)      E-mail addresses from UKBA staff based overseas always follow this format: name.surname@fco.gov.uk

d)      With e-mail addresses, please bear in mind the following. Sometimes, the exact e-mail address (purportedly from UKBA) will appear on your screen, but when you click on the address, a different e-mail address will appear. Always check if the e-mail address is correct!

Again, if you believe that you received a suspicious call or e-mail, or come across a suspicious website:

  • Do not give out any personal information, or confirm that any personal information they have is correct.
  • Do not make any payments.
  • Report the matter to UKBA.

 

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