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Scam email promising £500 tax returns sent to hundreds of St Andrews addresses

A similar scam hit Cambridge

A scam email has been sent to hundreds of students at St Andrews through their university email addresses.

It has been received by hundreds of students from first to fourth year, as well as those doing postgraduate degrees.

The email alleges to come from the 'University of St Andrews Valuation Office Agency', a fabricated university body. It was sent by a fake email named 'tax agents Gov-UK', but when clicked on it is revealed to be from scam addresses. Each student received the email from a different sender, making it unclear who initially sent it.

The email, addressed to individual students, promises £550.40 from students as "outstanding tax returns". However, the university has no role in tax returns of its students. When clicking on the link, the email asks for personal information including bank details.

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The scam email sent to students

St Andrews students have been warning each other over Facebook about the email.

One post, featured on the St Andrews Class of 2021 page, warned thousands of students not to "fill it out", raising awareness about the dangers of the scam. It has been liked by nearly 50 people throughout the university, who also claim to have received this email. One student commented: "That was a close one".

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A further anonymous warning has been sent out from St Fessdrews, a student posting site. There is no official response to how many students have received the email, but it appears to have reached hundreds if not thousands of students across the university.

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However, not all students are concerned with the email. Mahan, a first year English and Art History student, told The St Andrews Tab: "The email was clearly a scam.

"Firstly, I’m a student and don’t pay tax, and secondly why would HMRC contact me via my university website?

"If you’re gonna scam one of the UK’s best unis you might as well do it properly."

A spokesperson for St Andrews told The St Andrews Tab: "It was sent using legitimate, but probably compromised external accounts – so it looked like a normal, real email.

"The University has advice for staff and students for spotting such scams and phishing emails here."