Top tips on keeping your money safe while at university
Thousands of students will see their bank balance jump to four figures recently as the first instalment of their student loan lands. For many it’s likely to be the most money they’ve ever received so it’s important that they take steps to protect it. Students can easily find themselves a target to fraudsters and already HMRC has warned those beginning a new term to be on the lookout for suspicious emails. Tom Clementson, Director of Consumer at secure payments solution Shieldpay, shares his top tips on how students can keep their money safe.
1. Cut down on cards on a night out
You aren’t going to need all your cards with you on a night out. Think about taking cash out or use a top-up card which can be loaded up with how much you need. If someone does manage to get their hands on your card and your pin they will only be able to withdraw the amount you topped up and won’t make off with your whole student loan.
2. Be aware who you’re sharing information with
When signing up for societies, events or paying accommodation fees for your first term only give out details to a person or organisation you know and trust and that you’ve contacted directly or are expecting to be contacted by. If in doubt, don’t be afraid to say you’ll get back to them, and check the phone number or email address listed with your university.
3. Don’t click on links in unexpected emails or texts
Emails will be flying into your inbox but don’t click on any links in an email or text that you don’t expect to receive. When logging onto a website, make sure you look at the address bar and see a lock – this tells you that your connection is secure. Keep an eye out for fake emails from HMRC or student loans – they will never ask to confirm bank details from an email.
4. Plan on making a bit of extra money?
If you are planning on making a bit of extra money selling items, such as old clothes or books online, or indeed budgeting by shopping on online platforms, then be extra vigilant. Genuine sellers and buyers will usually have held accounts for longer and will have received positive reviews from a variety of people over time. Using payment solutions, like Shieldpay, which protect your transaction and fully verify the identity of the person you are buying from or selling to can add another layer of security.
5.Listen to your instincts and follow your gut
If something feels wrong, then don’t be afraid to question the situation. Follow your gut. Fraudsters will try and lull you into a false sense of security. While they might appear trustworthy at first, they may not always be who they claim to be.
Tom Clementson, Director of Consumer at secure payments solutions, Shieldpay, commenting on fraudsters said: “Students with thousands of pounds sat in their bank account are an attractive prospect to fraudsters. Be it email scams, identify theft or even luring them into being money mules, carefree students can be easy targets. This is why it is so important for students to be on the lookout for anything suspicious. Simple steps such as double checking an email address or securing a payment to a person or company you don’t know can make your first term at university unforgettable for all the right reasons.”