New university students in Canterbury were given fraud prevention advice from Kent Police officers during a game of putting at the University of Kent.
Officers from the Fraud Protect and Prevent team, Steve Kelly and Rob Slade, took the opportunity to join freshers on Monday 20 September, in a relaxed and fun environment where students were putting their way around the campus to familiarise themselves with the layout of the university.
It was the perfect opportunity to mix with young people and provide some very important tips on how to avoid being scammed and getting caught up in criminal offences.
They spoke to students about money mules, where people allow others to access their bank accounts in exchange for a cut of the criminal funds placed there. This is a form of money laundering and is illegal.
Steve Kelly said: ‘Those who allow others to access their bank accounts risk having them closed, making it more difficult to obtain student loans, mobile phone contracts or other financial products.
‘It is very easy for youngsters to get drawn into this sort of thing by very persuasive individuals and whilst most law-abiding people would never even consider being involved in drug-dealing, fraud or other serious offences, if they are helping to launder the money of the criminals, then they are not free from responsibility.’
The pair also advised the students on insurance scams and how to avoid them, in particular ghost broking, where young people buy what they think is very cheap car insurance but in fact it is fake and they are not insured at all. Advice was also given on staying safe from cybercrime, knife crime, encouraging youngsters to be aware and make good, safe, decisions.
Kent Police works closely with partner agencies, including the universities, to help keep students safe. Freshers’ Week is a busy time in an already vibrant night-time economy, particularly in Canterbury city centre, which means there is an increased chance that students can be victims of crime.
The fraud team will be holding a stand and offering advice at the Chatham Dockyard on Wednesday 22 September, at the University of Kent campus again on Thursday 23 September and their Medway campus on Friday 24 September for anyone who wants to understand more about fraud, ask questions and receive advice.