Nationwide launches new tool to protect savers from scams – your money could be refunded – Express

by MoneySaverExpert

Nationwide Building Society today announced plans to launch a new Scam Checker service, which is designed to prevent scammers taking advantage of dubious payments. Going forward, where members are worried about a payment they can check it in branch or by calling the 24/7 freephone number (0800 030 4057). Nationwide’s team will then discuss the issue with members and see if there are any problems before processing.

This will be crucial in identifying fraudulent behaviour as Nationwide’s team are trained to spot the signs of economic crime and routinely stop members from falling victims to scams. Nationwide said talking to members gives them time to stop and think before completing a payment and forms an “essential part in educating members on the warning signs of economic crime”.

This intervention forms the basis of the Scam Checker Service and the company’s own data showed speaking to members before they make a payment could help identify and stop up to 65 percent of attempted scams each year.

If members fall victim to an APP scam, after being given the go ahead to make the payment, will be refunded in full under the Society’s new Scam Protection Promise.

However, if through the Scam Checker Service someone is warned against making a payment and they proceed, or if they fail to share requested important information needed to assess the payment, then the Promise will not apply.

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The new service will work alongside existing fraud and scam prevention measures. Members will still be able to check the name on a new payee account using Confirmation of Payee (CoP).

Additionally, they will also still receive appropriate scam warnings and guidance when they make payments online or via Nationwide’s App, prompting them to stop and think before proceeding with their intended transaction.

Joe Garner, Chief Executive of Nationwide Building Society, commented: “Success is not just ensuring victims are reimbursed – but also preventing these crimes happening in the first place. That’s why we are introducing our scam checker service to help prevent our members being scammed. We’re also calling on the big tech, telecoms and social media companies that play host to these crimes to take more responsibility for stopping them. We must work better together in the mutual interest of fighting this criminal activity.”

The importance of these measures cannot be overstated as additional research from McAfee highlighted how much of a problem scams have become for British savers.

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How prevalent are scams in the UK?

Following Nationwide’s announcement, Antony Demetriades, VP at McAfee, said it was “not surprising” that scam efforts have ramped up in recent months.

Last week, McAfee released research which showed that more than a quarter of Britons (27 percent) have fallen victim to a scam in the past year. The same research also showed:

  • Two-fifths (40 percent) of scams have taken place on social media
  • Nearly half of 25-44 year olds (48 percent) who have experienced a scam have done so via social media
  • Retail (26 percent) and banking (27 percent) were the most common areas where Brits experienced scams
  • 16 percent of those scammed fell victim to a fake TV licence or HMRC refund, while 13 percent were scammed while managing utilities online
  • Brits in the North-East are most security savvy, with only 14 percent having fallen victim to a scam, compared to those in London where 41 percent have experienced a scam in the last year

Mr Demetriades warned coronavirus has made these issues worse: “Following nearly 18 months of lockdowns, working from home, and store closures, it’s not surprising that we’ve seen an increase in criminals tapping into consumer habits and targeting them with fraud. Scams, fraudulent emails and texts are a common tactic used by criminals, as it enables them to target a large number of consumers with the same text or email, with the aim of gathering personal information. These scam messages can trick consumers into visiting malicious websites that can be used to install malware or steal personal or financial information and passwords.”

What can you do to protect yourself?

Mr Demetriades broke down what precautions savers can take to protect themselves.

“It’s crucial that people are taking the necessary precautions to enable them to browse, shop, and live their lives online without putting themselves at risk,” he said.

“If consumers stay alert to threats and ensure they are just as savvy with online security as they are with the latest technology and platforms, then combined with comprehensive security software on all devices, we’re looking at a much safer future.

“It’s also important to remember that official organisations will never ask for personal or financial information via text, phone or email. If you witness this, it’s always best to contact the organisation directly or report it to Action Fraud online at or by calling 0300 123 2040.”

Mr Demetriades concluded by providing the following “top tips” on how people could protect themselves from fraud and scams:

  • Go directly to the source: Be sceptical of emails or text messages claiming to be from companies asking for payment or personal details. Instead of clicking on a link within the email or text, it’s best to go straight to the company’s website or to contact customer service.  
  • Be cautious of emails asking you to act: If you receive an email or text asking you to take a certain action or download software, don’t click on anything within the message. Instead, go straight to the organisation’s website. This will prevent you from downloading malicious content from phishing links.  
  • Avoid dodgy links. Whether shared on social media, via text or you are simply browsing the internet, avoid clicking on suspicious messages or URL links. Always go directly to the source as opposed to clicking links or replying directly to messages. 
  • Protect your identity. You can protect important personal and financial details using McAfee Identity Theft Protection, which also includes recovery tools should your identity be compromised following a scam.

What efforts is the Government making?

In May 2021, the Government published a draft Online Safety Bill which aims to deliver the state’s manifesto commitment to make the UK the safest place in the world to be online while defending free expression.

The bill is currently making its way through Parliament but it has faced continued criticism since it was first announced. In late July, The Treasury Committee and the Work and Pensions Committee wrote to Boris Johnson to warn that the Government’s failure to legislate through the bill against online fraud committed through paid-for adverts risked “large financial losses to the public”.

This followed a promise made by the Prime Minister where he assured he would look at the Online Safety Bill to see if it was “in some way inadequate” in tackling online fraud.

Stephen Timms MP, Chair of the Work and Pensions Committee, warned a lot of work needs to be done: “The Prime Minister told us that the Bill will tackle fraud—but consumer groups, the financial regulators and even the Governor of the Bank of England say it’s not enough. His offer to look again at the legislation is very welcome. He must listen to the numerous expert voices warning of the devastating harm that scams on the internet are causing, and ensure that action is taken to protect the many thousands of people who risk huge financial loss when they should be safe online.” contacted the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport for comment

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