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Student Money Week: risk of scams and fraud

Written by: SU Advice https://www.upsu.com/advice/

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National Student Money Week is an annual campaign created by the National Association of Student Money Advisers to raise awareness about the money advice and support available to students at University and beyond.

Over the course of this week, we will be sharing information, advice and support available which focuses on the 2024 theme: Less Risk, More Reward: Maintaining your Financial Wellbeing at University.

 


 

Risk of scams/fraud:

 

Unfortunately, scams come in all shapes and sizes and evolve to try and get people to part with their hard-earned money.

Many assume that it is only elderly or vulnerable people that get targeted, but that is not the case and those trying to scam others are becoming smarter with their approach.

Times aren’t the easiest for people at the moment, with so many watching their pennies closer than ever, and students are no different. It is important that you are able to identify scams and take less risk when it comes to unsolicited messages. There are so many resources out there to help people be more aware.

The Financial Conduct Authority ask 7 key questions to help people spot the warning signs of a potential scam. But, be aware, they can sometimes be difficult to spot. Fraudsters can be convincing and knowledgeable, with websites and materials that look identical to the real thing.

But if anything raises your suspicion, check the warning signs and trust your gut. It is better to be safe than sorry.

 


 

So, stop and think, and ask yourself...

 

Is it unexpected? Scammers often call out of the blue. They may also try and contact you via email, text, post, social media, or even in person.

Do you feel pressured to act quickly? Scammers might offer you a bonus or discount if you invest quickly, or they may say the opportunity is only available for a short time.

Does the offer sound too good to be true? Fraudsters often promise tempting rewards, such as high returns on an investment.

Is the offer exclusively for you? Scammers might claim that you’ve been specially chosen for an investment opportunity, and it should be kept a secret.

Are they trying to flatter you? Scammers often try to build a friendship with you to put you at ease.

Are you feeling worried or excited? Fraudsters may try to influence your emotions to get you to act.

Are they speaking with authority? Scammers might claim that they’re authorised and often appear knowledgeable about financial products.

 

If you answered yes to any of these questions then please, check the firm or individual that is said to be contacting you. How else can you protect yourself?

  • treat all unexpected calls, emails and text messages with caution. Don’t assume they’re genuine, even if the person knows some basic information about you.
  • hang up on calls and ignore messages if you feel pressured to act quickly. A genuine bank or business won’t mind waiting if you want time to think?
  • check your bank account and credit card statements regularly
  • consider getting independent financial advice or guidance before a big financial decision 
  • check overseas regulators if you’re dealing with an overseas firm (you should also check the list of?scam warnings from overseas regulators)

 

And whatever you do, don’t:

  • give out your bank account or credit card details unless you’re certain who you’re dealing with 
  • share your passwords with anyone (including your social media passwords)
  • give access to your device by downloading software or an app from a source you don’t trust. Scammers may be able to take control of your device and access your bank account

 


 

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