Over half of current and former students ‘were scammed while at university’

More than half of current students and graduates say they have been scammed during their time at university, a survey has found.

The average amount students have lost to scams is £420, according to a survey from Lloyds Bank of over 2,000 people aged 18-34.

Nearly a third of victims had lost more than £500, while one in 11 had been conned out of over £1,000 to fraudsters.

Some 52% of women said they had been scammed while at university, compared with 69% of men.

The variety of scams people had been duped by included online sellers advertising goods that never arrived, fake landlords offering properties they did not have the authority to rent, and scam emails asking students to input their personal details to gain access to bogus grants.

Paul Davis, retail fraud director at Lloyds Bank, said: “Younger people still learning how to manage their finances can easily find themselves being targeted by fraudsters.”

Mr Davis continued: “Always ring the number on the back of your bank card if you are not sure and remember your bank will never ask you for your personal details or to transfer money to another account.

“If you’re worried you’ve been a victim, contact your bank immediately so we can try to recover your money. This also allows us to share information across the industry and stop fraudsters targeting others.”

Lloyds supports the banking industry’s voluntary code on authorised push payment (APP) scams, which was introduced earlier this year to make it easier for people to get their money back when they have been tricked into transferring cash to a fraudster.

A third of people in the Lloyds survey said they were not warned at all about being scammed at university. Less than a fifth (18%) said their university warned them.

But only a quarter of victims who had been scammed said they later warned the university about the fraud – which could make it harder for universities to alert other students.

Mike Haley, chief executive of fraud prevention organisation Cifas, said: “These figures demonstrate the worrying issue of young people increasingly becoming victims of fraud.

“As well as helping youngsters better identify fraud, it is crucial that we also help them to understand the devastating consequences of financial crime and how to avoid becoming a victim.”

Here are Lloyds Bank’s tips to stay safe from scams:

– Question any requests to share details or move money. Your bank will never ask you to share your account details like user ID, password and memorable information. Contact your bank immediately on a number you know if you receive any unusual requests.

– Check for spelling mistakes which can be the giveaway sign of a scam.

– Double check the sender is real. If you receive an email from anyone asking you to make an urgent payment, always double check the request is real by speaking to them in person, or by calling them on the number you have saved.

– Be cautious about opening any emails that you were not expecting, even if you think you recognise the sender, and do not click on any links or attachments unless you are sure they are genuine.

– Also, watch out for spoof text messages which may look similar to genuine messages you receive from your bank and always call the bank on the number on the back of your card to check if you are unsure.

– Use anti-virus software to protect your devices and ensure you have downloaded the latest updates for your operating system.

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