Students in Angus are being urged to be extra vigilant against becoming the latest victims of cyber crime.
Hundreds of students in Angus will receive their first loan and bursary instalments this month - making them instant targets for cyber criminals looking to ensnare them in identity theft and online scams.
As part of a drive to warn against the dangers of online crime, e-Crime Scotland with the support of Get Safe Online, Student Loans Company and Student Awards Agency for Scotland is raising awareness of how students can protect themselves.
Gary Ritchie, Assistant Director at Scottish Business Crime Centre (SBCC), said that by taking a few simple steps students could protect themselves against the heartache and often serious consequences caused by the actions of cyber criminals.
He added: “It’s common knowledge that students often have a spending splurge as soon as their loans or bursaries hit their bank accounts and they will no doubt make the most of their new social lives but they must tread carefully before making any ominous transactions or sharing their personal details.
“One of the biggest threats is identity theft which is now one of the fastest growing crimes in the United Kingdom and is costing victims over £1.3 billion annually.
“The problem is that students may not initially be concerned about identity theft as often they don’t consider themselves to have a lot of money or assets but what is overlooked is the fact that their names and reputation are equally valuable.
“It’s important to be cautious when using computers for online banking transactions, buying merchandise or storing personal information as this kind of sensitive information is gold dust to fraud committing thieves and the damage can seriously jeopardise your financial future.”
Tony Neate, Chief Executive at Get Safe Online said: “Staying safe online doesn’t need to difficult. Having an understanding of the potential scams, and taking the basic precautions that we recommend, can significantly improve their online safety without losing the benefits and enjoyment of the internet.”
“We will be issuing information packed leaflets to Scottish universities and colleges with more facts and tips on the dangers of cyber crime and how students can protect themselves whilst still being able to enjoy and make the most out of student life.”
e-Crime Scotland has been developed through the Scottish Financial Crime Group and is working with key partners in the Scottish Business Crime Centre, Scottish Law Enforcement, Scottish Government to educate Scottish businesses and consumers on how to be aware, vigilant and ultimately safe from the destructive effects of e-Crime in all its forms.
More information about e-Crime Scotland can be found at www.ecrimescotland.org.uk or the Scottish Business Crime Centre website www.sbcc.org.uk