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‘Concerning’ number of students being targeted by criminals

·2-min read

More than half (53%) of students have been targeted by criminals in the past year, according to a major bank.

NatWest said its annual survey of 3,000 students found that fraudsters posing as bank staff, or pretending to be from HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) offering fake tax rebates, are among the common scams to watch out for.

Criminals will try to harvest personal details as well as money through such scams.

More than a quarter (26%) of students surveyed had encountered bank scams over the past year.

One in six (16%) had encountered tax rebate scams and the same proportion (16%) had been targeted by delivery service scams.

Students said they has also been contacted with investment scams, social media, entertainment and shopping account hacks and money mule scams.

The full findings from the 2022 NatWest student living index will be revealed on August 12.

Laura Behan, head of NatWest Student Accounts said: “This year’s NatWest student living index reveals a concerning number of students being targeted by criminals.

“We’d advise students to be on their guard when they receive an unexpected text message, email or phone call asking for personal details.”

Here are NatWest’s tips for students and others to stay safe:

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. Do not give away your personal and bank details 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 have never heard of, it could be a scam. If you have doubts, do not make the purchase.

6. Watch out for social media investment scams. These often use fake celebrity endorsements and the promise of getting rich quick.

7. Pass information about scams on to your family and friends, particularly to anyone you think might be vulnerable.