22nd August 2014
Thousands of students may have been caught up in a mobile phone scam that is lumbering them with large debts.
It is thought a dozen universities have been targeted by scammers who persuade students to take out a phone contract in their own name, then sell the handset on to a private company for £50, with the promise of more money in the future. However, money is not forthcoming and the student ends up liable for the debt that is racked up on the phone.
The police told the BBC that one student has been left with a bill of £10,000 and another student told BBC Radio 4 that he had taken out six contracts and sold the phones on and now owes £500.
So far around 350 victims of the scam have been identified but police fear there could be thousands of cases and there are as yet unsure how widespread the scam is.
Detective chief inspector Bob Mahoney of the National Mobile Phone Crime Unit said: ‘You’ve got to remember these students – 18 or 19 years-old – are probably leaving home for the first time.
‘They’ve got all the worries of student debts behind them, so any income they can generate does look attractive.’
Students were warned not give giveaway personal details and check their credit ratings to see if any changes have occurred.