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New financial fraud survey shows students at risk

Students are putting themselves needlessly at risk of financial fraud, a survey by Moneyfacts and the University of East Anglia has revealed.

More than 70% insufficiently destroy used card receipts and old bank statements, almost half allow other people to use their card/PIN number, and almost a third use the same PIN Number for all their bank cards.

More than 800 students at the University of East Anglia took part in the online survey in May 2006. The information will be used by the university to educate its students further in good financial practice.

Key findings of the survey include:
29% use the same PIN number for all bank cards
27% keep a record of their PIN numbers (in a mobile phone or PC; in code in a wallet or purse; or in a safe place)
46% allow other people to use their bank card (friends, family members, people I trust, or in an emergency)
62% have been given someone elses card and PIN to use
73% insufficiently destroy used card receipts and old bank statements before throwing them away
74% insufficiently destroy direct mail offers for accounts, loans and credit cards
34% know a fellow student who has experienced financial fraud
10% have personally experienced either identity theft, stolen credit cards/PINs or unauthorised withdrawals from their account.

Ben Williams, finance officer of the Union of UEA students says: With finances already tight for students, this is alarming evidence that they are putting themselves needlessly at risk of financial fraud.”

We look forward to exploring ways that we can use these findings to help raise awareness amongst the student community so that students can better protect themselves in the future.

Despite the worrying findings, there were also encouraging signs that students can be security-conscious when it comes to financial services. For example:

69% arrange for banking cards to be sent to their family home rather than their shared term-time address
63% have a different PIN number for each card
72% memorise PIN numbers and then destroy the slip
54% never let anyone else use their card.

Andrew Hagger, head of news and press at Moneyfacts, says: Whilst it is encouraging to see that many students take measures to try and protect themselves against fraudulent activity, there are still some areas of concern. The financial institutions and the industry as a whole cant afford to take their feet off the pedal; they need to hammer the safe banking message home at every opportunity.

Prof Nikolaos Tzokas, head of the Norwich Business School, says: The survey has identified important areas, which have significant policy implications for financial services providers seeking to produce value for their very significant student markets.

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