10 May 2017

Loneliness and Fraud

A feeling of being utterly alone can come on quite suddenly, or it can be triggered by a life-changing event like bereavement, divorce, unemployment or a moving to a new home.

Fortunately, most people don't feel isolated for too long, but recent research by Nationwide* has found that just over one in ten of us have experienced bouts of loneliness that last more than a year.

As if this isn't distressing enough, the research also found that those suffering from long-term loneliness are four times more likely to become a victim of a financial scam than those who don't feel isolated.

When people have only had themselves for company for a long time, they can become more willing to trust strangers, whether in person, over the phone or online. As a result, they can be more likely to open themselves to exploitation by fraudsters.

Now the link between loneliness and fraud has been recognised, a lot is being done to help protect vulnerable people and prevent them from getting into financial problems.

The key is helping everyone to recognise the signs of a scam

Nationwide is a member of Financial Fraud Action UK, a group set up by the financial service industry to combat fraud.

Its Take Five campaign encourages us all to stop, think and take five minutes, before divulging any personal information, whether it's on the phone, online or face to face.

Here are five points to think about during those five minutes:


  1. Never disclose your security details, such as a PIN or full banking password – no genuine finance organisation or even the police will ever ask you to do this
  2. Don't assume an email, text, phone call or social media request is authentic
  3. Don't be rushed – a genuine organisation won't mind waiting
  4. Listen to your instincts – if something doesn't feel right, end the communication immediately
  5. Stay in control – don't panic and make a decision you'll regret.

If you believe you've been a victim of fraud, get in touch immediately either by phone or in branch. We'll need to ask you a few security questions to make sure you're the account holder and then we can ask you about your incident.

Contact us by phone

You can contact our Financial Crime department on: 


0800 464 30 51 (UK) or
+44 1793 65 67 89 (abroad) 

We're open Mon to Fri 8am - 8pm, Sat 9am - 5pm, Sun 10am - 3pm. If you're calling outside of these hours, call us on 0800 30 20 11.

Visit us in branch

You can visit us in branch during opening times. We'll contact our Special Investigations Department for you and you can discuss your incident over the phone.

To find out which branch is nearest to you and opening times, use our Branch finder

If you are not a Nationwide member, contact the financial service provider involved on the number listed on their website or the back of your credit or debit card immediately.

*The poll of 2,000 UK adults was carried out by Opinium, between 27-31 January 2017.

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