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Spoof Website Targets Newcastle University Students

Posted by Richard Ward in ,

Image courtesy of Flickr, Creative Commons

Newcastle University has warned students against handing out personal details on fraudulent websites after it was uncovered a fake site had been set up to take payments from prospective students.

Fraudsters were using Newcastle University's brand, and encouraging students to enter their credit card details to pay for non-existent courses.

The website claims to belong to Newcastle International University, which it says offers pioneering new approaches to education with 100% online study programs, allowing students to get a Newcastle University degree from the comfort of their own home.

Newcastle University warned people via its Twitter feed that it is "in no way associated with the university."

The institution said: "We have been made aware of an unofficial website that is fraudulently using the Newcastle University brand and accepting credit card payments to apply for courses. The website 'Newcastle International University' is in no way associated with the university and we are advising anyone who finds the website not to submit any personal details. All students should use our official website".

Security experts praised Newcastle University for their swift response, but suggested the scam could be effective.

Newcastle University subsequently reported the site to the internet hosting company and to the internet standards organisation, ICANN, as well as the police.

According to Universities UK, fraudulent websites have become less common following international crackdowns, but said it can still be difficult for international students to know whether a university advert or link is genuine.