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Identity Theft - Survey Statistics

Identity Theft - Survey Statistics

Category: Money

Updated: 31/10/2008
First Published: 07/08/2006

This article was correct at the time of publication. It is now over 6 months old so the content may be out of date.

Students are putting themselves needlessly at risk of financial fraud, according to a new survey by financial information provider Moneyfacts in conjunction with the University of East Anglia.

More than 70 per cent 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, conducted by financial data experts Moneyfacts, in conjunction with the Norwich Business School at the University of East Anglia 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 per cent use the same PIN number for all bank cards
  • 27 per cent 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 per cent allow other people to use their bank card (friends, family members, 'people I trust', or in an emergency)
  • 62 per cent have been given someone else's card and PIN to use
  • 73 per cent insufficiently destroy used card receipts and old bank statements before throwing them away
  • 74 per cent insufficiently destroy direct mail offers for accounts, loans and credit cards
  • 34 per cent know a fellow student who has experienced financial fraud
  • 10 per cent have personally experienced either identity theft, stolen credit cards/PINs or unauthorised withdrawals from their account.

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

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

The survey was conducted by the Norwich-based Moneyfacts Group in conjunction with the Norwich Business School at the University of East Anglia.

Andrew Hagger, head of News and Press at Moneyfacts, commented: "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 can't 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, said: "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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