15 Nov 2009

University students warned of internet scam

7:01 am on 15 November 2009

The Union of Students Associations is warning students about an internet scam which has seen money fleeced from University of Otago students.

A warning email has been sent to students explaining that a foreign scam artist had sought a room in a flat and overpaid a fraudulent cheque for the required bond and rent.

Once the students repaid the excess money online, the initial cheque sent from Europe was not cleared and was later proved to be false.

In its email, the university says there is little to protect fraudsters from using its online advertisements to make contact with unsuspecting students.

Union of Students Associations' co-president Sophia Blair says she has not heard of such a scheme in New Zealand before and exploitation of this nature is a worry.

Ms Blair says students need to use common sense and avoid setting up flat deals over the internet and should meet potential flatmates face to face before making any financial transactions.