Protecting members from fraud
Nationwide is committed to protecting our members from fraud. We want to ensure our members can transact safely and without fear. We have a significant management focus on fraud prevention and victim support, and are continually investing in ways to improve both.
This area of our website offers information about some of the things we do as a responsible business. For more practical advice visit our fraud and security pages.
What's on this page
Our colleagues and services
We have a number of specialist fraud teams. These teams have expanded significantly to respond to the growing levels of fraud now being attempted every day in the UK. We are operationally active 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Nationwide monitors transactions, and trained consultants are on hand to support the minority of members who do fall victim to fraud.
We aim to minimise the impact of fraud and scams on our members as far as we can. We recognise a minority of attempts will unfortunately be successful, as criminals employ increasingly sophisticated measures in order to defraud the public. The vast majority of cases involve lower value transactions, and are often the result of card details being obtained by fraudsters in order to make fraudulent purchases. Fortunately, most members have their accounts quickly restored. Where a successful fraud impacts a member more severely, or where it becomes clear they may be vulnerable to being targeted again, we ensure aftercare and support is available.
We are increasingly engaging with members to discuss potentially risky transactions, and providing more human advice during the payment process. We take care to ensure that any interventions are based on risk, delivered with skill and care, and do not introduce unnecessary barriers to our members’ ability to transact.
Authorised Push Payment scams
Criminals increasingly target consumers directly. As part of a scam, they attempt to obtain information or convince members to send money under false pretences. Authorised Push Payment (APP) scams are a significant issue across the industry and continue to grow at a worrying rate. Nationwide members proportionately experience fewer scams than customers of our main banking peers, but we are observing similar growth rates to the industry average.
During the 2020/21 financial year, most APP victims were people who had been enticed to purchase goods from fake merchants, without using standard payment methods such as a card or intermediary site that holds payment details securely. We deal sensitively with each case and do whatever we can to repatriate lost funds. We assess liability carefully and consider whether the member and Nationwide were acting with sufficient care.
In May 2019 Nationwide, along with several of our peers, signed up to the Contingent Reimbursement Model (CRM). This voluntary code of conduct aims to reduce the occurrence of APP scams, while increasing the proportion of customers protected from their impact and minimising the disruption to legitimate transactions. It’s helping, but more needs to be done. We continue to be actively involved in industry initiatives, such as lobbying for other sectors to improve the protection for consumers from fraudulent communications. We are currently participating in trials to find new ways to share data across firms and improve the controls over payments.
Scams involve increasingly elaborate and advanced tricks, enabled by technological advances. It is incredibly difficult for our members to guard themselves against all scams when a cyber-enabled fraudster can intercept communications with relative ease. That’s why we’ve launched a Scam Checker Service. Members can check any payment in branch or over the phone before making it. We will provide specific guidance after discussing the purpose and intended destination. If we give the go ahead to proceed, members will be financially protected if it turns out to be a scam. This is just one of the ways we are increasing the protection and financial support we provide for scam victims.
Detecting and preventing fraud
We continue to invest in the security and resilience of our systems to protect against fraud and scams. Over the 2020/2021 financial year, our fraud defence systems and 24/7 specialist fraud team helped prevent £113 million of attempted fraudulent card and online transactions from taking place (2019/2020: £97 million). In addition, our branch colleagues protected our members from at least £5.5 million of attempted scams (2019/2020: £4.8 million).
Investing in new technology
We invest in, and explore, new technologies such as behavioural biometrics, to ensure we maintain pace with the developments in fraudsters’ tactics, and to maintain the level of prevention our members expect from us.
This year we put in place the capability to deliver Strong Customer Authentication for online shopping purchases made with a card. An additional step of entering a one-time code is now required when shopping online. This is a regulatory requirement for consumers from March 2022. We have focused on ensuring members can chose from several options on how to receive this code, to minimise any potential disruption.
Raising members’ awareness of fraud
We continue to provide educational material to help members protect themselves. We are also committed to finding different ways to reach a wider audience.
We engage in campaigns to raise awareness via the media. We conduct surveys that ask people to think about whether they would fall victim to a scam. We also work with national radio stations and well-known celebrities to help bring alive the importance of being aware of how to protect yourself from fraud and scams.
We devote a segment of our regular Member TalkBacks to fraud and scam education. This is a great way for us to interact with our members and directly answer specific questions on how they can protect themselves.
We actively participate in industry initiatives such as the Take Five campaign and the Banking Protocol. The protocol is a layer of protection and support that goes above and beyond. Branch staff can alert police to a suspected fraud or scam in the moment, and members can receive support directly from law enforcement as soon as they arrive.
We work proactively and openly with the industry to share information on emerging issues and insights, and to look for ways to combat fraud at an industry level. This includes working with our peers, UK Finance, regulators, and other critical bodies. We are members of the Joint Fraud Taskforce. We work with government and peers to implement a charter that sets out a clear action plan for fraud reduction and victim support initiatives. We are also actively involved in setting up a trial for increased data sharing between firms, which aims to significantly improve the detection of scams.
Last updated: January 2022