31 October 2016

The power of the collective: Together we can combat fraud

2 minute read

  • More than one million incidents of financial fraud occurred in the first six months of 2016
  • Nationwide prevented 90 per cent of fraud attempted online in the last financial year
  • It’s not easy to spot a fraudster as they employ increasingly sophisticated methods. 

Stuart Skinner, Nationwide’s head of fraud, explains why the issue of tackling fraud is a joint effort.

Shocking statistics: According to Financial Fraud Action UK (FFA UK) more than one million incidents of financial fraud occurred in the first six months of 2016, equating to an incident every 15 seconds.

Although this figure is perhaps shocking, when you consider that last year banks stopped £7 in every £10 of attempted fraud from happening, the true scale of the issue is clear.

It’s a joint effort: Nationwide prevented 90 per cent of fraud attempted online in the last financial year but because the systems and processes used by financial institutions like Nationwide are working and making fraudsters’ lives harder, they are increasingly targeting consumers directly. This is why we need to work together to stop them in their tracks. 

Mr Torrible, from Bournemouth, did just this. Earlier this year he had a lucky escape thanks to an eagle-eyed member of staff at our Canford Cliffs branch. He received an email about a payment of £2,000 he was due to make towards the deposit on a new holiday home in Spain, but our Customer Representative noticed the bank account details in the email related to a British rather than Spanish account. When Mr Torrible subsequently investigated, he found the details were bogus and his email account had been hacked. The case has now been reported to both the British and Spanish police.

“We would always recommend taking stock and pressing pause before going ahead with any financial transaction. And if a deal appears too good to be true, it probably is.”

This case shows the importance of Nationwide and our customers being alert. Unfortunately, I’ve also heard of cases where our customers often don’t take a moment to check whether they’re being asked for payment by a genuine person or company. For example, I was informed of a case where a colleague worked hard to persuade a customer of their suspicions, only to hear later that they went home and did the transaction online anyway.

In that case, they hadn’t received a fake invoice, but instead had been targeted for an investment fraud. It’s not easy to spot a fraudster as they employ increasingly sophisticated methods.

At Nationwide we’ll do everything we can to protect our members’ money but, unfortunately, there’s only so far we can go in terms of stopping someone from making a payment - it is their money after all.

Part of an industry effort to combat fraud: We support a variety of industry initiatives that aim to tackle fraud. One of these is The Take Five campaign and aims to get people to stop and think before responding to any financial requests and share any personal or financial details.

You can find out more by visiting the campaign website takefive-stopfraud.org.uk

About the author

Image of Stuart Skinner

Stuart Skinner has been at Nationwide for 17 years and is Group Head of Fraud with additional responsibility for Anti Money Laundering and Anti Bribery & Corruption.

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