Following a successful student scams awareness project conducted between Plymouth University and Plymouth council in 2021, the Trading Standards South West (TSSW) scams group agreed to look further into the prevalence of scams in the 18 – 25 age group. Research at that time showed that young people are more likely to be scammed than pensioners due to the misconception that ‘it won’t happen to them.’ This was supported by the Plymouth research.
The research showed that these were the most common types of scams:
TSSW completed its own survey across the South West region in 2022 and found much of the same scam areas were reported.
A key finding in both surveys was that most students either wouldn’t report a scam, or if they did, they wouldn’t do so via the usual channels from which Trading Standards receives its intelligence (and thus is directed to act upon).
In April 2023, TSSW completed an intelligence profile of this area and found whilst there is advice available for this age group in most of these scam areas, it has never been consolidated into one central place. So we have created a simple toolkit to bring everything together in one place, which can be accessed by clicking the link below.
This toolkit provides 3 top tips for each scam category, provides links to guidance from professional partners and news items on current scams in circulation. The homepage also has a handy 5 minute film on the issues we’ve found, how to avoid being scammed and what to do if you do find yourself having been scammed.
Until that is available though, we would advise any readers to be mindful of these basic considerations:
- Be Alert for unsolicited letters, emails, calls and texts – including competitions you have not entered, parcel delivery notices and student loan companies who you have not approached directly.
- If in doubt – check the senders’ details independently of any links sent – does it match the link they provided? If no, its likely to be a scam. If they ask you to log on,, don’t do it via the link they provide – use your own favourites list / link from previous use.
- Don’t be threatened by any such messages – scammers often try to trick you into make quick decisions – do your research, don’t be fooled.
- Check for any spelling errors – typos can often be a good indicator that a message is not legit.
If you do all of these, then you should manage to thrive in your new student life, keeping your money in your pocket and not those of scammers.
If you’ve unfortunately fallen victim to a scam, we urge you to report it so that the authorities can help you and prevent the scammers from deceiving others. To report a scam or rogue trader and for advice on consumer issues please contact:
The Citizens Advice consumer service
0808 223 1133