Staying Safe at UCL

Advice on safe practices and how to contact the UCL Security team.

UCL ID cards are required for access to a number of UCL buildings and must be worn by staff and students at all times on UCL premises. 

SafeZone Reporting App

SafeZone is an app available to all UCL students and staff to make it easier for you to contact UCL Security directly from your mobile device. Landlines at UCL can still contact security by dialling '222'.

Using Safezone at UCL


Staying safe on campus 

Bike security

Around 20,000 bikes are reported stolen in London each year. Find out how to keep your bike safe on our bike security pages. 

UCL Bike security


Be aware of tailgating. If you feel that a person is following you in order to access an area where you believe they should not be, challenge them - as long as you feel comfortable and safe to do so. Alternatively, you can contact UCL Security.

Laptops and valuables

Never leave your personal items unattended in public places, including in UCL campus buildings such as libraries and refectories. Laptops, mobile phones, wallets, bags or any other valuable items may attract an opportunist thief. 

Cash machine security

If possible try to use cash machines during the day and put your cash and card away as quickly as possible. Try to use the campus cash machines which are covered by UCL CCTV. When you withdraw cash, check the machine for any suspicious activity and always cover the keyboard so your PIN number is not seen by anyone else. Remember to trust your instincts - if you feel that the machine is not right, walk away.

Met Police ATM security tips

Mobile phone snatching

Criminal often use bikes and mopeds to snatch mobile phones from people, particularly at busy locations such as outside stations, shopping centres or concert venues. Often victims are approached from behind while talking or texting on phones. Criminals on mopeds or bicycles may mount the pavement to grab the phone or snatch it from the road. Sometimes when it’s a moped, a pillion passenger will snatch it.

While most thefts happen between six and ten at night, criminals operate during the day so always look out for what’s going on around you.

Met Police phone safety tips


The threat of terrorism in the UK is real, but with a little knowledge you can increase your safety and help protect yourself against a terrorist attack. Follow the Metropolitan Police advice on how to stay safe when you’re out and about and find out how to report any suspicious behaviour that could be connected to terrorism.

Met Police tips on staying safe from terrorism

Scams and Fraud

Fraud happens when money or other possessions are taken by deception. Essentially, if the victim was fully aware of all the facts of the situation, they would not consent to give the money. This can happen in person, by text, over the phone, or online by a complete stranger or someone you know.

Common types of Fraud

Face to face fraud

This happens when someone asks you for money or goods in person, but the reason for the request is not legitimate.

Someone approaching you saying they have just been mugged and need to borrow money from you to get home. They ask you to go with them to a cashpoint and take out £80 so they can get a taxi home. They then take your details so they can contact and repay you later. It all seems genuine until they leave and never make contact again. They are experienced Fraudsters and know this story is likely to appeal to our sympathetic side and make us want to help.

UCL’s advice – Never lend money to someone you do not know. If you are being pressured, ask someone for help. If you can, call Security or the Police straight away

Text Fraud

This happens when fraud is committed via Text message, Whatsapp, Direct message on Instagram, WeChat or any other messaging service.

A friend putting you in touch with someone who could pay your tuition fees at UCL for a discounted rate. You message the person and transfer the amount as requested. Everything seems fine until UCL contact you to say there has been a bounce back of your fee payment and the amount is still outstanding. You attempt to contact the person and their number no longer works. Your friend cant contact them either and the Police will struggle to trace the person because they have discarded the sim card they used to contact you.

UCL’s advice – The only safe way to pay your tuition fees is direct to UCL. Please never use a third party to do this. UCL does not have discounted fees so this is always a lie.

Phone Fraud

This happens when you receive a call requesting you transfer money or give your bank details over the phone by deception.

Someone calling you from the Home Office asking you to pay a fee for breaching the conditions of your visa. It might be they put some pressure on you and tell you to transfer money immediately or authorities will deport you. They may have some personal information about you, which makes them sound genuine and convincing.

UCL’s advice – never commit to paying there and then, authorities would never insist you do this. Ask for their contact information and an email to confirm what has been requested from you, you can then give this to Security or Police to check for you. Remember, you should never give out your personal details to a caller as you cannot verify their identity.

Online Fraud

This happens when fraud is committed over the internet via email or an online source.

Making a purchase from an online shop you have not used before. Say you are looking to buy a protective face covering. You checkout and you are asked to create an account saving all your personal and bank details to the site. These details are harvested and can be used by the perpetrator to take money from your account. When you complete the order, the money is transferred but the goods never arrive. When you check the website it is no longer available.

UCL’s advice – Be very careful about online shopping on sites that you have not used before. Do your research and only buy from reputable online shops. Be careful about saving your bank details to any site, it might be convenient but is it safe?

Money Mules

Money mules are recruited by criminals to transfer illegally obtained money between different bank accounts. Money mules receive stolen funds into their account, and are then asked to withdraw and send the money to a different account (often overseas), keeping some of the money for themselves. If you become involved in this you are money laundering which is a criminal offence. If it sounds like easy money and might be too good to be true, it is.

Some quick reminders to protect you against these offences:

  • Don’t be pressured to hand over cash or transfer money to anyone. Call Security or Police and ask for help
  • Watch out for advertisements to make ‘easy money’, they may be looking for money mules
  • Pay tuition fees directly to UCL. It is the only safe way to pay
  • Set up or review all online safety features on your phone and laptop
  • Regularly change online banking passwords and pin numbers to protect your account
  • Report any incidents of hacking or phishing to a UCL email to ISD
  • If you have concerns about the safety of your online information, disable ‘quick pay’ saved bank details on web pages (online shopping sites) and apps like Apple Pay

Further advice and information on fraud and scams can be found at Action Fraud.

Contact information

You can contact Security if you have been a victim to an incident of Fraud, that has taken place on campus. Call 020 7679 2222 in an emergency or 020 7579 2108 if it happened some time ago.

If you are in an emergency off campus call Police on 999. In a non-emergency situation, you can report fraud to Action Fraud or to the Metropolitan Police.

If you would like personal safety advice to prevent this from happening to you, or you would like some support following an incident of fraud you can contact Crime Prevention and Personal Safety Advisor, Sophie Bimson via e-mail.