Scam alert - student fees - University of the Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia

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Scam alert - student fees

27 Apr 2021

There have been several reports of fee scams targeting University students in Australia.

To be safe with your money, remember that USC will never make arrangements with a third party for discounted fees. The only way to pay fees is to pay directly through your student account. Students are also warned that they should not share their student ID or log in details with anyone.

Never pay tuition fees to a third party

Some students have been caught up in a scam where a third party offers to pay student fees at a discounted price. What usually happens is that students are contacted (sometimes through other students) and asked to give their login details for their USC student account to a third party. The third party then pays the student’s fees in full using a credit card – presumably stolen.

When the student’s fees are paid, the third party requests the student transfer the discounted fee amount to the third party. Some weeks, or months, later the bank requests the money paid to the University be refunded, as the credit card transactions were not authorised by the credit card holder.

Unfortunately, students who have made these arrangements will have to repay their University fees again as well as any bank charges associated with reversing the payments. These charges can amount to several hundred dollars. The University is also obliged to report the fraudulent transactions to the police.

Be wary of 0% instant study loans

Be cautious of businesses offering study loans. While some businesses may operate legitimately, there have been reports of fake companies offering 0% instant study loans where they claim to pay the student fee amount directly to the university on your behalf, asking students to upload various forms of personal documentation to their site in order to apply to have their student loans paid. Sharing your personal information online can also let scammers steal your identity. Read more about how to stay smart online by protecting yourself and your information.

Scammers may use other methods, so please always be wary.

If you have any questions or want to verify the authenticity of any payment method or agent, please contact the Student Finance team via Student Central.

If you have made these arrangements with a third party to pay your fees, and the University has yet to notify you that the payments were fraudulent, please get in touch with our Coordinator of Student Grievances by calling (07) 5459 4740 or email grievances@usc.edu.au. You will need to provide details of the arrangements made to pay your fees and provide any contact details you have in relation to the transaction arrangements. The Coordinator, Student Grievances will be able to give you advice on what to do next and provide referrals where appropriate.