Here are some money pitfalls to watch out for

  • Being Scam Wise

    What is a scam?

    A scam involves a criminal tricking you into giving them money, or access to your personal details so they can pretend to be you. Scammers, fraudsters and bogus callers are all criminals.

    It is important to be ScamWise, see the link below for more information around the various types of scams:

    How to spot a scam

    Students are most likely to be targeted through online scams, such as emails or social media. See the links below for more information on how to spot scams and more.

    Money Mules

    If you have ever seen adverts online, received emails, Snapchats or Instagram messages detailing how you can make quick money by working from home, performing a few simple tasks, or sending money from one account to another.

    This is a typical money mule scam and is to be avoided at all costs.

    Money Mules are used to launder money that has been illegally gained through various criminal activity. It is passed from bank account to bank account in a bid to hide the source where it came from.

    The money is often moved to other criminals who use the funds for more illegal activities.

    Anyone who helps move such funds could have their bank account shut down, and face the potential of criminal charges.

    Check out the links below to ensure you know how to spot a money mule scam, how to avoid them and the consequences of taking part in such a scam.

    What steps can you take now?

    If you receive a spam text message, forward it to 7726 to help your network to investigate, block and reduce the number of spam messages circulating.

    If you experience nuisance calls, you can block these on your mobile phone.

    You can also register your landline and mobile numbers with the Telephone Preference Service, to 'opt out' of live sales and marketing calls. This service is free and it's quick to register a phone number.

  • Non-regulated money lending

    Money lenders must be regulated by the FCA (Financial Conduct Authority) in order to legally lend money to their customers.

    Non-regulated money lenders, commonly known as Loan Sharks lend money illegally and charge high interest rates, often using threats and violence to intimidate borrowers who cannot afford to pay their loans back.

    Before borrowing money, check the lender is regulated. Most financial institutions will clearly display on their website 'Regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority'

    Learn more about illegal money lending and How to spot a loan shark

    If you believe you have borrowed from a Loan Shark or are being harassed by one, check out what steps to take next.

  • Gaming

    With gaming on the rise, whether through an app or games console, so too are the options to purchase upgrades, boosts, cheats, loot boxes and more.

    The purchase of such things, do not meet the legal definition of gambling, however, it there has also been a rise in Gaming Addiction from young children to adults.

    Gaming expenditure also raises the question if this is a justifiable spend, especially to those who are already struggling financially.

    These purchases are believed to ‘exploit and manipulate players’, encouraging bad habits and can be the start of gambling addictions, with the worst effects being on children and young people. Check out our video on Gaming &  Gambling.

    Many parents pay for their child’s online yearly subscription, however, forget to remove these details once the transaction is complete. This can result in their children using their card without their knowledge, in some cases, charging over £100 to their card within a few weeks.

    Gaming can include

    • PC based gaming
    • Consoles e.g. Ps4, Xbox, Wii, etc.
    • Android Apps - anything from Mine Craft to Candy Crush
    • Social Media Game rooms or Instant Games

    Things to consider

    • Have a look at your recent bank statements and total the amount spent on gaming purchases. Could the money have been better used elsewhere?
    • Will the gaming purchase add value to your or your child’s lifestyle?
    • Have you removed card details to avoid your children using it at a later stage to purchase boost, etc. without your consent?

    ASK for help or advice before things spiral out of control – contact our Student Money team on 028953 67000 or email

  • Gambling

    Some consider this a quick money-maker but can rapidly become an expensive habit.

    Gambling is a game of chance and is not a guaranteed form of income. Check out our video on Gaming &  Gambling.

    There is a risk that you will lose large amounts of money through lotteries, scratch cards, betting shops, casinos and online.

    Gambling can be very addictive and the following signs can indicate a problem with gambling:

    • regularly borrowing money from friends and family
    • avoiding people you have borrowed money from
    • neglecting responsibilities and hobbies due to gambling
    • feeling anxious regarding money difficulties due to gambling
    • relationship problems because of money difficulties due to gambling
    • being secretive about your gambling
    • regularly thinking about gambling

    Are you a compulsive gambler?

    Any sign of gambling or betting will void your university financial support application. Please speak to our Student Money Advice team if you have any concerns.

    For sources of help and support for gambling, please see below:

    Organisations to help with gambling addiction
    OrganisationDescription More information
    Money Helper Tackling problem Gambling and Debt. If gambling has affected you financially, it can be hard to talk about. But you’re not alone – and there’s help and support out there for you. Visit Money Helper


    This software blocks online gambling sites and apps (is offered to students for free at present)

    Visit the Gamban website

    NHS Information and Support for those who may have concerns around gambling and the effects it may have on health and relationships. Visit the NHS website

    The National Gambling Helpline  Forum

    Users from NI can use the online forum to share support, advice and ideas with others hoping to regain control.

    Visit the National Gambling Helpline Forum

    Gamblers Anonymous

    This website allows you to locate your nearest Gamblers Anonymous group for support in the community.

    Visit the Gamblers Anonymous website

    Dunlewey Addiction Centre

    This centre is for anybody living with an Alcohol, Drug, Substance or gambling addiction over the age of 18, referrals can be made via telephone, email or form online.

    Tel: 02890 392547/ 08000 886 725

    Mon to Sun 11.00-21.00

    Visit the Dunlewey Addiction Centre website

    Be Gamble Aware

    This online database contains contact details of gambling sectors if you wish to self-exclude. This means that you can ask a company to stop you gambling with them for a particular period of time.

    Visit the Be Gamble Aware website

    Always seek advice from our Student Money team if you are having money worries.

    You can book an appointment with our Student Money Advice team by contacting Student Wellbeing on 028 9536 7000 or emailing

  • High Risk Investments

    Many people have been attracted to the high return some investments can offer. Most buy into this before fully understanding the finer details of what high risk investments really are.

    Whilst all investments carry some amount of risk, the higher the return promised, the greater the risk. There are many different types of high risk investments, from Stocks & Shares ISAs, to Crypto Currency and Bitcoin.

    Before you start, ask yourself - Should I Save or Invest my Money?

    If you think that investing is for you, there are a number of things to consider before proceeding with any type of investment:

    • Is the investment regulated by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS)? If your investment is covered by the FSCS, and your provider goes bust, you will be covered up to the value of £85,000.
    • Can you afford to invest money in the first instance?
    • If you fall into hard times, can you access the funds quickly?
    • Have you the stomach to watch should your investment drastically go down in value?
    • Can you afford to leave your money in the investment for a prolonged period of time to allow recovery?
    • Do you know the risks involved? Is it a long-term game, which will see your investment go up and down numerous times before you are able to withdraw funds?
    • Do your investment terms mean you could be liable for more money than you put in?

    You can find further information on investments on the Money Helper website.