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UK Immigration Agency warns of scams

The UK Border Agency (UKBA) has issued a statement warning people who want to work in the UK and students who are already studying in the UK to be aware of a number of frauds. The statement warns of websites that purport to link to or be operated by the UKBA and of fraudulent phone calls made by criminals claiming to work for the UK immigration authorities.

The statement warns firstly of websites offering fake UK jobs online. Foreign nationals who apply for a job will receive a response saying that they have been successful. They are then directed to a link and asked to pay for a UK Tier 1 or Tier 2 visa and work permit. The UKBA warns people not to make payments on these sites. They are not operated by the UKBA.

The statement also warns about a telephone scam targeted at overseas nationals already studying in the UK. These students may receive a phone call from someone claiming to work for the UK immigration authorities. The caller will give a false name and a contact number. The caller will explain that there is a serious problem with the student's immigration status and request an immediate payment to prevent deportation.

In another scam, a caller claiming to work for UK immigration authorities may ask a foreign national newly arrived in the UK to pay a deposit immediately to prove that he has sufficient funds to support himself until he receives his first salary payment. The UKBA warns students and workers not make payments. It has reported the scams it knows about to the police. It adds that there may be other frauds it does not know about.

The UKBA advises anyone who has received suspicious calls or e-mails or has seen a suspicious website to report it to the police's Action Fraud website (www.actionfraud.police.uk) or to call Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040.

It also advises that the genuine UKBA website is to be found at www.ukba.homeoffice.gov.uk and warns students to be sure to check that they are not directed to other, non-government, email addresses from sites that seem to belong to the UK immigration authorities. It warns students to check any addresses used on letters that they receive, which claim to be from the UKBA, against a list of contact details to be found on the UKBA website.

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