• A third of students have encountered a scam in the past year
  • Students in Bournemouth were targeted the most, while those in Leicester and Bristol encountered the fewest scams
  • NatWest issues help and advice to avoid becoming a scam victim


NatWest’s 2023 Student Living Index reveals fraud is a major issue for students. A third of students have been targeted by criminals in the last year.


Delivery scams are the most common kind of fraud that students have encountered over the past year, with 14% having experienced this scam according to NatWest’s annual survey of over 3,000 students.


Other common scams targeting students include social media and HMRC tax scams, while the instances of bank scams decreased significantly from 2022, with only 10% of students encountering this type of scam.


In contrast to last year’s results, women were slightly more likely to have encountered a scam in the last 12 months and over twice as likely to lose money to fraudulent activity, while the amount of money lost by a victim of fraud was around £80.


The top location for student scams this year was Bournemouth, with 44% of students having been the target of a scam. Last year’s most targeted city, Edinburgh, and Oxford were next in the rankings, with 41% of students encountering a scam with over four in five in each of these areas having experienced fraud. While students in Bristol and Leicester were the least likely to be subjected to fraud, one in four students had still encountered a scam.


The NatWest Student Living Index surveyed over 3,000 students across the UK. Students were asked a range of questions, on fraud and scams, how much they spend on essentials such as food, rent and bills, and how much time they spend studying, working, and socialising. The full 2023 NatWest Student Living Index will be revealed on 11 August.


Jaimala Patel, Head of NatWest Student Accounts, said:

“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.”


NatWest tips to become more fraud proof

  • Be sceptical of unsolicited phone calls, texts or emails asking for personal or bank details. Banks or the Police will never ask for a full PIN or password, card reader codes, or ask you to move money from your account
  • Do not recycle passwords and use a unique password for your bank accounts and email accounts
  • Don’t give away your personal and bank details too easily. Criminals often use online competitions or offers of free shopping vouchers as a way of harvesting information from potential victims
  • Try to shop online with websites you know and trust, using your debit or credit card
  • If you see a deal online that looks too good to be true from a website you’ve never heard of, it’s probably a scam. If you have doubts, don’t make the purchase
  • If an online seller asks you to send money direct from your bank account to theirs, this is probably a scam. If they fail to deliver the goods you will lose your money
  • When it comes to buying online, use your credit or debit card to pay, or carefully follow the scam advice on auction sites such as eBay to help you avoid falling victim
  • Be careful of social media investment scams. These often use fake celebrity endorsements and the promise of getting rich quick
  • Pass this information on to your family and friends, especially anyone you think might be vulnerable


Notes to editors

NatWest’s Student Living Index covers 63 university cities and towns, looking at the spending habits, lifestyle and cost of living for students across the UK and uses the information to determine the most affordable city for students to live in. Questions around the cost of living applied to the location in which the student lived while studying, while questions pertaining to aspects of university life such as stress and support were based on the university they attended.


Audience: n=3,052 University Students Living in the UK

Survey period: 11th May – 5th June 2023. Respondents were given a small incentive to take part in an online survey. The survey was unbranded for all respondents.

Panel Provider: RedBrick: Experts in education, research, technology and charity and third sector research.



Andrew Neilson


0777 197 3550

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