Scam website targets those wanting to study at fake Ipswich university
PUBLISHED: 09:32 29 October 2019 | UPDATED: 12:44 29 October 2019
A website advertising a fake university in Queen Street has been shut down after it attempted to scam thousands of pounds from overseas students looking to obtain a degree in Suffolk.
Suffolk Trading Standards have confirmed that they were made aware of the website, which went live in April this year, by the Department of Education. Immediate action was taken to shut down the website which claimed the 'College of Suffolk' was founded in 1990.
In their Facebook post Suffolk Trading Standards said: " Websites like this can be used to attract students, collect personal information and course fees. They can also be used to sell fake degrees certificates."
Suffolk Trading Standards say at this stage they have received no complaints about the website - but believe that anyone affected overseas may have made complaints to their local law enforcement authorities.
The website, which featured a misleading photograph of the University of Suffolk, on its homepage attempted to attract performing arts students by mentioning Suffolk's links to Ed Sheeran and Harry Potter.
Yearly fees stated ranged from £3,500 to £8,900 with courses offered including: Musical Theatre, Film and TV Production and Special Effects Make up Artistry.
The website even has a section written by their 'President' which says: " Come and learn with us. You will find a dynamic learning institution with state-of-the-art facilities, student accommodation and a fully equipped gym, fully serviced by a excellent public transport links."
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Responding to the news of the scam, Polly Bridgman, Director of External Relations at the University of Suffolk said: "We are pleased with the decisive action of Trading Standards.
"The website had the potential to defraud applicants to university, particularly those from overseas who are perhaps less familiar with the university application process.
"For anyone interested in applying to university, our advice is to follow links on the UCAS website and further information about the University of Suffolk can be found at www.uos.ac.uk."
Trading Standards urge anyone with concerns about a website to contact them on - 03454 040506.
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