One in three students at British universities encountered fraud attempts online last year, according to a new study from NatWest.
The high street lender commissioned consulting firm RedBrick to poll over 3000 UK university students from 63 towns and cities back in May.
Although a third of respondents said they’d encountered a scam over the previous 12 months, there were no statistics on how many were actually caught out.
That said, the most common fraud attempts they came across over the period were delivery scams, which 14% of respondents said they’d seen.
These are effectively phishing emails impersonating a well-known courier brand. They claim the recipient has a parcel waiting but needs to click through and enter their personal details, sometimes including financial information, to reschedule the delivery.
Social media and HMRC tax scams were also frequently encountered by respondents, NatWest claimed. However, fraud relating to high street banks appeared to drop from 2022 figures, hitting just 10% of those polled for the study.
NatWest said that women were “slightly more likely” to have encountered a scam in the past 12 months but over twice as likely to lose money than men. The average amount lost by victims of fraud was around £80 ($102).
Students living in Bournemouth were most likely to have been hit by scams, with 44% of respondents living in the south coast city saying they had encountered fraud over the previous year. Next came Edinburgh and Oxford. Students in Bristol and Leicester were least likely to be on the receiving end of a fraud attempt (25%).
“It is really important that students remain vigilant and are on their guard when they receive an unexpected text message, email or phone call asking for personal details,” explained head of NatWest student accounts, Jaimala Patel.
Both staff and students are popular targets for phishing attacks, especially at the start of the new academic year in September. Universities can also expect a barrage of ransomware attempts beginning during the busy “clearing” period in the UK.