Newcastle University is warning prospective students not to give out personal details on a fraudulent website taking payments for courses.
The fake site uses pictures of Newcastle University buildings and takes payments for a non-existent “Newcastle International University”.
It is “in no way associated with the university,” warns the university’s official Twitter feed.
Students should avoid accessing the site, said a university spokesman.
The site has been described as unusually realistic.
Azeem Aleem, director of advanced cyber-defence practice at RSA security’s Europe Middle East and Africa region, said: “Make no mistake, this is an effective scam.
“They’ve put in the time and effort to create a remarkably realistic website, and it highlights the very real danger of modern spoofing attacks.”
Mr Aleem said the fake site carefully targets overseas students “who may not have the local knowledge to spot the difference between this site and Newcastle University’s official site”.
He praised Newcastle University for a swift response once the fraudulent site was reported to them earlier this week.
In a statement, Newcastle University said it had reported the site to the internet hosting company and to the internet standards organisation ICANN.
“We proactively announced on social media that this is a fraudulent website and have responded to some student enquiries and will continue to do so. We would urge any students not to access this site and go to our official site: www.ncl.ac.uk or call the university’s general number if they have any queries.”