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Students taught to be savvy spenders

The Trading Standards Institute (TSI) is running a competition in schools to make young consumers aware of the ins and outs of financial responsibility. The Young Consumers of the Year competition for 14 to 18-year-olds has reached its final stages and the grand final, which will see pupils from 12 schools compete, will take place on June 27th in Manchester.This news comes as research by Mintel revealed that young consumers aged between seven and 19-years-old spend a collective £13.9 billion in pocket money every year, mainly shelling out for clothes, computer games, petrol, and going out.Yet a study carried out by the Financial Services Authority showed that young people tended in the main to lack financial knowledge and often chose products unwisely.As the competition nears its end, the Office of Fair Trading (OFT), which sponsors the event, has today revealed some of the most typical scams that younger consumers fall for.Major scams that young people are targeted by are based around the use of mobile phones. For example, many young people are sent text messages which tell them to phone a number to find out an urgent or secret message, only for them to find that the return call is charged at a premium rate.Many youngsters are also caught out by ringtone scams, which sign them up to receive a number of regular ringtones at an inflated charge.OFT consumer education's Paul Burton, said: "The amount spent by young people is enormous and they are increasingly involved in spending decisions whether it is mobile phones, computer games or traditional areas like clothes."Having a skilled group of consumers shopping around and aware of their rights benefits us all. The participants in Young Consumers of the Year gain valuable skills and a grasp of key consumer issues that they can pass on to parents, friends and adults."

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