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Protecting Yourself from Financial Fraud as a Student

Essential Tips for Student Financial Fraud Prevention


Are you savvy enough to outsmart scammers and protect your hard-earned cash?


Pirate flag to indicate financial fraud scams


Understanding Common Types of Financial Fraud


Whether you're a budgeting pro or just getting your first taste of managing your own finances at university, we're here to raise your awareness of the financial scams and frauds that are rife today. Inexperienced students are easy targets for scammers, so be aware!


In our essential guide "From High School to Uni", we have a chapter dedicated to budget management, how to open a bank account, what international students need to know, identity theft, phishing schemes, scam awareness, and secure banking practices. If you want to know more, grab a copy now!



What Types of Financial Fraud can Students be exposed to?

With AI and new technology readily available, scammers are able to easily find innovative ways to steal your money. Students may be particularly targeted so you need to protect yourself from financial fraud by knowing what to look out for.



Identifying the Most Common Fraud and Scams Targeting Financially Vulnerable Students:


Here are some of the most common financial frauds and scams that students may experience.


Telephone scams where fraudsters pretend to work for companies such as Amazon or the electricity company and claim they you owe a refund.

Computer repair scams where you are told that your computer has been found to have a virus or needs to be repaired.

Email scams that appear to be from trusted sources, such as your bank or DHL or Fedex, asking you to click on a link for more information.


Debt collection scams: Scammers may pose as Debt Collectors who will contact you to say you have defaulted on your student loan or other debts, and get you to pay debts you don't owe or have already paid.


Beware of mail fraud: You may receive letters that appear to be legitimate and look official, but are full of empty promises. If the letter asks for money or personal info upfront in return for a prize or reward, it's highly likely to be a scam. If it sounds too-good-to-be-true, it probably is!



A male scammer with headset and laptop calling with a financial fraud or scam


How can a Student tell if a Debt Collector is Legitimate or a Scammer?


A legitimate debt collector will introduce themselves and provide their company name, address and information about the debt. This may help you figure out more about the debt and if it's fraudulent.


If you have a doubt, ask them to verify their status with the following information:


  • Their full name

  • Company name

  • Company address

  • Telephone number

  • Professional licence number


Tell them YOU will call back at a time that's convenient to you, and then check the details online to see if they're legitimate.




Taking notes on a notepad following a phone call to check financial fraud scams
If in doubt, write it out.



Protect your Identity: A Student's Guide to Avoiding Financial Fraud


Passwords and Authentication


You probably already have at least one email account, and know the rules about secure passwords. In case you don't, the recommended guidelines to create a strong password are at least 12 characters, although 14 or more is considered safer. And use a combination of uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers and symbols.


Try not to reuse the same password with multiple websites, and use a multi-factor authentication process to increase the security of your account.


PIN Code rules


Your Personal Identification Number (PIN) is the 4 or 6 digit code used as a security check on your bank card. When you first receive your debit or credit card, and are issued with an initial code by the bank, you must change this immediately to a 4 or 6 digit code you can easily remember.


It's best to avoid your date of birth, phone number, or car plates, which could easily be guessed if stolen.


Remember, the bank will NEVER ask you for your PIN code, so keep it secret and never reveal it to anyone.


Identity Theft


Identity theft protection is taking precautions against someone stealing your personal or financial information to commit fraud. In essence, it's when someone pretends to be you in order to steal from you, such as making unauthorized purchases. This can have serious consequences and damage your finances, credit score and reputation.


Phishing and Spoofing


Scammers can be sneaky, pretending to be from legitimate companies or government agencies to steal your information. They may call or email you asking for personal information such as passwords or bank details. When in doubt, hang up and call your bank on its official number.


In addition, remember that legitimate companies will usually address you by your name, not "Dear Customer".



Recognizing Red Flags and Warning Signs


Look out for suspicious website links or emails with strange addresses. It may look official, and have the correct company logo, but the website URL or email address will likely have an extra digit, word or letter, which indicates it is fake.


If the scammer starts out the conversation in a polite tone but gets aggressive, this is a red flag. Professional staff are trained in customer-related communications and will have a calm conversation with you. If in doubt, hang up.


If you get a "debt collection" call and the caller does any of the following, they are likely to be scammers:


  1. Threaten you with criminal charges: Legitimate collectors won't (and can't!) threaten you with arrest over a debt.

  2. Can't or Won't give details about the debt: If they won't give you specific details or you don't recognize the debt, it could be fishy.

  3. Won't give contact information: Legitimate collectors will provide their contact details; if they avoid this, be cautious.

  4. Asks for personal finance details: Never give this out unless you're sure they're legitimate.


Stay savvy and protect your info!






Taking Action: What to Do If You're a Victim of Financial Fraud as a Student


If you are a student and become a victim of financial fraud, it is important to act quickly to minimise the damage.


First, contact your bank or credit card issuer immediately to report any unauthorised transactions and request a freeze on your accounts if necessary.


Next, file a report with the police.


Note down detailed records of all communications and documentation related to the fraud and keep for future reference.


Finally, contact your university's financial aid office or counselling services for assistance in dealing with the aftermath of financial fraud and protecting yourself from future incidents.


By taking proactive steps and seeking help promptly, you can minimise the impact of financial fraud on your academic and financial well-being.




5 Essential Tips for Student Financial Fraud Prevention


Here are five essential tips to prevent student financial fraud:


1. Guard your personal information: Be careful about giving out sensitive information such as your social security number, bank details or passwords. Keep your documents and online accounts safe.


2. Verify Sources: Check the legitimacy of any request for personal or financial information. Verify the identity of the sender before responding to emails or phone calls asking for sensitive information.


3. Monitor accounts regularly: Monitor your bank and credit card statements for unauthorised transactions. Report any suspicious activity to your financial institution immediately.


4. Be wary of offers: Be sceptical of offers that seem too good to be true, such as easy money schemes or unrealistic financial assistance opportunities. Research and verify any financial opportunity thoroughly before committing.


5. Educate yourself: Stay informed about common scams and fraud tactics that target students. Be proactive in learning how to recognise and avoid potential financial scams.


By remaining vigilant and proactive, you can protect yourself from becoming a victim of student financial fraud.



 

For more guidance on financial management while you are at university, order your copy of "From High School to Uni" now!





 

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All rights reserved



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