Prevention is best for scam-free student days

Scammers are constantly honing their skills, so we have to be extra-vigilant when it comes to financial security. Banks and building societies do everything possible to protect your personal information, privacy and money – but there are also things you can do to reduce the risks.

What is fraud?

fraud

frɔːd/

noun

1. When deception is used to make financial or personal gains.

synonyms: cyberfraud, scam, con, sham, hoax, cheat, swindle, ruse, hoodwink, deception, skulduggery, confidence trick.

By stealing your card, or obtaining personal information from your card, criminals purchase goods in your name or obtain money from your account.

Via email, social media or telephone, criminals impersonate reputable organisations (such as your bank or the police), with the aim of tricking you into providing personal or security-related information. See our ‘Scams: what you need to know’ section for more information.

This type of fraud involves the theft of personal information. Your details may be used to get a passport, driving licence or credit; to buy goods; or to take over your existing accounts.

Using hard sell tactics that often include mentioning impressive job titles, using technical jargon and creating a sense of urgency, criminals will try and persuade you to invest money in a certain scheme.

Fraudsters try and gain access to your bank account via your stolen mobile phone.

Scams: what you need to know

Do you know what Phishing, Vishing, Twishing and Smishing are? The words may sound fun but the reality is much more serious.

Phishing, Vishing, Twishing and Smishing are techniques used to trick you into giving away your details. First, you’ll receive a tweet, direct message, email, text message or a telephone call that appears to be from your bank or another reputable organisation (like the police or an internet services company). Next, the impersonator will try to get you to part with personal or security-related information. They may even ask if they can access your computer remotely to try and solve the alleged ‘problem’.
Learn how to protect yourself

Scam example #1: Department of Education phishing emails

UK students are being warned about a new scam targeting university email addresses. Students receive an email from a source posing as a representative from the financial department of their university, alleging that the student has been awarded an educational grant by the Department for Education.

read more ↓

Scam example #2: fraudsters posing as employers

If someone offers you an easy way to make cash, it may seem like a dream come true, but take care. Criminals are now posing as employers to target vulnerable groups including students.

read more ↓

Scam example #3: Facebook identity fraud

Facebook is an integral part of daily life for most students and young people, but social media users are being warned to think twice about what they share online.

read more ↓

Protecting your finances: top tips

It’s unsettling to think that there are people lurking out there with the aim of stealing your information or tricking you out of money: but the good news is that there are simple steps that you can take to protect yourself.

  • Do: make sure your card(s) and Personal Identification Number (PIN) are safe.
  • Do: shield your PIN whenever you enter it – both when you are paying for things and whenever you are at a cash machine.
  • Do: choose a unique, memorable password, avoiding common dictionary words and using a mix of letters, numbers and special characters.
  • Don’t: let your card out of your sight when making purchases.
  • Don’t: write your PIN down. However, if you really have to, don’t keep your card and the note containing your PIN in the same place.
  • Don’t: give your PIN to anyone else.
  • Do: download trusted banking security software, such as Trusteer Rapport.
  • Do: make sure you have up-to-date antivirus software installed.
  • Do: keep an eye out for signs that you’re using a secure site, such as a key or padlock symbol and the web address (URL) prefix ‘https://’.
  • Don’t: use internet cafes to manage your finances.
  • Do: contact your bank immediately if you think you’ve compromised the security of your bank details or if you have lost money as a result.
  • Do: try and verify the identity of the sender. If the email appears to be from someone that you know, contact them directly via another medium to check; or open a browser and visit the company’s website yourself rather than clicking on any links provided in the email.
  • Don’t: click on links or open attachments unless you’re certain of the sender’s identity.
  • Don’t: reply to emails that appear to be scams, or try to contact the senders.
  • Don’t: part with any sensitive information, even if prompted to after clicking on a link in the email.
  • Do: let your bank or building society know if you receive a suspicious Tweet or direct message.
  • Do: check the privacy settings across all your social media accounts and ensure you’ve selected ‘private’ or ‘friends only’.
  • Don’t: keep Tweets or direct messages via Twitter – or any other social media channel – that contain links to an internet bank.
  • Do: set up a password or passcode on your phone or tablet.
  • Do: set up a tracker or deactivator on your phone if there’s an option to do so.
  • Do: tell your provider instantly if your phone is stolen. They can then blacklist your phone number and deactivate it.
  • Do: change any passwords for online accounts that you access through your phone (such as mobile banking) immediately if your phone is lost or stolen.
  • Don’t: store personal details like passwords or PIN numbers on your mobile.
  • Do: set up a password or passcode on your phone or tablet.
  • Do: set up a tracker or deactivator on your phone if there’s an option to do so.
  • Do: tell your provider instantly if your phone is stolen. They can then blacklist your phone number and deactivate it.
  • Do: change any passwords for online accounts that you access through your phone (such as mobile banking) immediately if your phone is lost or stolen.
  • Don’t: store personal details like passwords or PIN numbers on your mobile.

An internet cafe is not a good place for banking...

An internet cafe is not a good place for banking...

Choose the perfect password in three simple steps

There’s one crucial way to protect yourself, of course: pick a password of perfect proportions! This is also handy if trying to prevent your comedian housemate/sister/mother from posting an hilarious status – under your name - on your Facebook page. You have been warned...

1.

Try to use at least eight characters or more if you can, and a mixture of upper and lower case letters, numbers and symbols.

Top tip: when choosing your password, remember that changing letters to numbers (for example E to 3 and i to 1) are techniques well-known to criminals

2.

Pick a phrase you know well, and use the first character from each word – but don’t be too obvious.

Top tip: avoid using your actual name, address or family members’ names or birthdays; and don’t use words that reflect personal information others could easily know about you (such as your favourite team or music).

3.

Finally, be sure to avoid numbers in duplicate, order or sequences, and don’t pick common dictionary words if you can help it. Make your password unique – but memorable to you, and you alone!