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A third of university students targeted by fraudsters

Paloma Kubiak
Written By:
Paloma Kubiak

One in three students suffered a scam attempt in the last year, according to a study from a leading bank.

Fake delivery schemes were the most common type of scam attempt, and around one in seven (14%) of NatWest’s survey of 3,000 students said that they experienced the con. This is where fraudsters send texts or emails to people claiming to be from a genuine company asking to reschedule a delivery or pay additional fees.

Social media and HMRC tax scams were also common forms of fraud that students faced in the last year. The amount of bank scams decreased from 2022’s study and only 10% of respondents said they were targeted by that type of fraud.

Bournemouth, Edinburgh and Oxford most targeted

Students in Bournemouth suffered the most criminal attempts by fraudsters (44%), with Edinburgh and Oxford (41%) making up the top three most common areas. On the other side of the scale, universities in Leicester and Bristol encountered the fewest amount of scam efforts in the past 12 months.

The different study from Canada Life also painted a picture on how scammers are impacting the whole of the nation, and it revealed four in ten adults across the UK had experienced a scam attempt in the last 12 months.

Jaimala Patel, head of NatWest student accounts, said: “It is really important that students remain vigilant and are on their guard when they receive an unexpected text message, email or phone call asking for personal details.”

Tips to avoid being scammed

NatWest issued help and advice to avoid becoming a victim of a scam. Here’s the bank’s top eight tips:

  1. Be sceptical of unsolicited phone calls, texts or emails asking for personal or bank details. Banks or the police will never ask for a full PIN or password, card reader codes, or ask you to move money from your account.
  2. Do not recycle passwords and use a unique password for your bank accounts and email accounts.
  3. Don’t give away your personal and bank details too easily. Criminals often use online competitions or offers of free shopping vouchers as a way of harvesting information from potential victims.
  4. Try to shop online with websites you know and trust, using your debit or credit card.
  5. If you see a deal online that looks too good to be true from a website you’ve never heard of, it’s probably a scam. If you have doubts, don’t make the purchase.
  6. If an online seller asks you to send money direct from your bank account to theirs, this is probably a scam. If they fail to deliver the goods you will lose your money.
  7. When it comes to buying online, use your credit or debit card to pay, or carefully follow the scam advice on auction sites such as eBay to help you avoid falling victim.
  8. Be careful of social media investment scams. These often use fake celebrity endorsements and the promise of getting rich quick.