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How to keep your money safe as a student

Life as a student can be very exciting - but also full of challenges.

For example, you might find yourself strapped for cash from time to time.

Unfortunately, that means you could be targeted by criminals offering to pay you for transferring money to your account or storing it there. This is a form of money laundering and is one way criminals try to make their money (which is often stolen) difficult to trace.  

It may sound like an easy way to earn some cash, but acting as a ‘money mule’ is against the law and the maximum prison sentence for this kind of thing is 14 years. It’s much better to find a part-time job to help make ends meet – you’d rather spend time behind the bar than behind bars.

To find out more, check out the Don’t Be Fooled campaign.

Managing your money

The best way to avoid having money worries is to stay on top of your finances.

Here are some tips to help you stay stress-free:

  • be sensible with your money and don't be tempted to splash out at the start of term on unnecessary or expensive items
  • set a budget that takes into account all your likely income and spending
  • plan your finances for a whole term in advance so you know how much money you need
  • be sure you're making the most of all the discounts available to students, such as the 16-25 Railcard and TOTUM (previously known as NUS extra)

Don't forget to ask for help if you’re in trouble - try the National Association of Student Money Advisers (NASMA) or the Money Advice Service.

Protecting yourself against fraud

Sadly, financial fraud is a fact of life, whether or not you're a student.

But if you're only just starting higher education, it might be the first time you've had to think about the best ways to protect yourself against these types of criminals.

To protect yourself against fraud:

  • beware of people asking for large upfront payments - this includes paying an advance fee to rent a property
  • keep your bank account safe by regularly checking your statements and looking out for any unusual activity
  • always look after your bank cards - even if you're on a big night out celebrating the end of your exams
  • make sure you’re the only person who knows your PIN
  • be suspicious of emails offering deals that look too good to be true - they probably are

What next?

You can find out more about how to spot common scams in our fraud prevention guide.

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