In response to an explosion of scams targeting young people and as part of its major UK-wide drive to increase the public’s awareness of financial fraud risks, Barclays have launched an educational resource for 11-24 year olds at City of Bristol College.
According to UK fraud prevention service Cifas, in the first half of the year there were 17,040 instances of ‘misuse of facilities’ fraud, where an account is misused by the genuine account holder for profit. In a scam known as ‘deets and squares’ (deets is slang for bank details and a square is a credit or debit card), young people are becoming ‘money mules’ by handing over their bank details to fraudsters in exchange for money, making them accessories to the fraudsters’ crime. By doing so, they are risking a prison sentence, the loss of banking facilities, a ruined credit history and financial difficulties lasting well into adulthood.
Barclays is responding to this new threat by expanding its LifeSkills programme which includes lesson materials and online tools to help young people understand when they are being targeted by fraudsters and how to avoid being duped into sharing their bank details.
Launching the fraud and scams resources at a LifeSkills session at City of Bristol College, Ashok Vaswani, CEO of Barclays UK said: "Crooks are using ever more sophisticated tactics to trick youngsters into handing over their bank details. It’s alarming that our young people are being increasingly targeted in schools and colleges, and aren’t aware of the dangers and implications of this crime. Young people need to be wary of anyone approaching them with the promise of cash for the use of their bank account. Through our LifeSkills programme, we want to help raise awareness amongst young people of the risks they face and give them with the tools to stay safe."
Lee Probert, Principal and CEO of City of Bristol College commented: "The development of skills goes beyond the academic and practical content taught in our classrooms and workshops. Through adopting a holistic approach to education and working with partners such as Barclays, we’re able to develop wider life skills of our young people, supporting them to make right choices for themselves and raising their aspirations for developing meaningful careers. Educating young people about the dangers of financial scams, knowing how to respond in such situations and understanding consequences of participating in fraudulent activities, is just one piece of the jigsaw of becoming responsible citizens and active members of our society." City of Bristol College
With more than 4.5 million young people having already participated in LifeSkills, it is hoped that these new resources will help scores of young people up and down the country become more digitally safe. Educators across the UK can access more than 60 hours of lesson plans, tools and resources at www.barclayslifeskills.com.