The Student Watchdog has become aware that over the past few years, Sheffield students have been cheated out of hundreds of thousands of pounds, through a phone contract scam. We think you need to know about it, so you don't get caught too.
Individual's claiming to be in partnership with phone companies have been providing a 'job' opportunity to students. They ask you to set up a phone contract, and post the phone to an office elsewhere, or even give the phone to them in exchange for quick cash. Then one of two things will happen.
1) The scam artists send back fake phones to you, and sell your original phone abroad.
2) They take your number and sim card, and use it to spam others racking up the charges for you to foot the bill.
A FIRST PERSON ACCOUNT
A former Sheffield student has told us what happened when they almost fell foul of the scam…
"I replied to an advert on a popular jobs website described as a ‘Sales Representative with Carphone Warehouse’. A man called me saying to come in for a trial shift. It all seemed fairly normal until I was told to meet him in an office above Orchard Square rather than the Carphone Warehouse nearby. When I arrived, the man took me into an office upstairs and explained that they were not Carphone Warehouse directly but had a deal with them, but couldn’t really give me any specifics about what the job would include. This seemed a bit weird, then the guy walked me to Carphone Warehouse directly and said he wanted me to sign up for a phone contract where you get a phone free. He said they would sell on the phone, pay off the contract and pay me part of the profit. This didn’t make a lot of sense so I asked a lot of questions and the story kept changing…
"…Something didn't feel right. When I went into the shop, I explained the situation to some members of staff and they looked alarmed and said they have been warned about scams like this happening in Sheffield. The staff were really nice and told me to sit and pretend I was taking out a contract whilst they called the police. The guy kept calling me and asking what I was doing and why it was taking so long. The police eventually arrived and he disappeared.
"The guy was pretty pushy and intimidating and kept confusing me with contradictory information. I think if the staff in Carphone Warehouse hadn’t been so nice and quick to take the situation seriously, I would be in real trouble now!"
THINGS TO REMEMBER
- Never hand over personal details for cash, and make sure the request comes from a reliable source.
- If it seems too good to be true, it probably is!
- Speak to our Students' Union Advice Centre immediately if you think you've been caught out by it.
Above is the 'big boss' of one of the phone scam gangs...