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Nationwide Building Society launches scam checker service

Daily Mail logo Daily Mail 26/09/2021 Lee Boyce for Thisismoney.co.uk
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Nationwide Building Society is today launching a scam checker service it hopes will help further protect customers from losing money to criminals, This is Money can reveal.

Britain's biggest mutual says it hopes the move will help customers from falling victim to Authorised Push Payment scams, where customers move money directly to criminals after being socially engineered.

This can often be from a scammer pretending to be from the fraud team of a bank and tricking the victim into making a payment into a 'safe account.'

( © Provided by This Is Money (

Fraud losses soared 30 per cent in the first half of the year to more than £750million with rising APP scams driving the surge, according to UK Finance data.

The biggest growth in APP fraud losses came in the form of impersonation scams, which more than doubled to £129.3million due in large part to criminals stealing from people while pretending to be police officers and bank staff, the industry body said.

The new service from Nationwide enables a customer to check a payment they are worried about either in branch or by telephoning a dedicated freephone number.

This will be staffed by a trained fraud team who will directly answer, with Nationwide stating the call should be picked up within minutes – with time often crucial in this type of case.

Staff will talk to the customer about the nature of the payment and discuss if there are any concerns before proceeding.

Its own data suggests that speaking to a staff member before making a payment could help identify and stop up to two thirds of attempted scams each year.

Nationwide says that anyone who falls victim to an APP scam after being given the green light will be fully refunded under a new guarantee

However, it adds that if through the new 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, the guarantee will not apply.

In these cases, it claims any APP scam refund will still be made on a case-by-case basis, in line with the Contingent Reimbursement Model code, considering factors such as vulnerability and the nature of the scam.

Stuart Skinner, economic crime director at Nationwide, told This is Money that the new service will work alongside existing fraud and scam prevention measures.

This includes checking the name matches the details on a new payee account using confirmation of payee.

Customers will also still receive scam warnings and guidance when they make payments online or via its app.

Joe Garner, chief executive of Nationwide – who announced his exit last week – added 'Success is not just ensuring victims are reimbursed – but also preventing these crimes happening in the first place.

'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.'

UK Finance believes the scale of fraud is now so great that the problem is now a 'national security threat' and said the banking industry cannot combat the problem by itself.

Katy Worobec, the managing director of Economic Crime at UK Finance, said: 'The banking and finance industry invests billions in advanced systems to try and stop fraud happening in the first place, but criminals are exploiting weaknesses outside of banks' control to trick customers into making payments directly to them.

'This is why we are calling for coordinated action and increased efforts from government and other sectors to tackle what is now a national security threat.'

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