Protecting members from fraud

At Nationwide, ensuring our members can transact safely, protecting them from fraud, is one of our most important goals and is a responsibility we devote significant management attention to.

Note:

This area of our website offers information about some of the things we do as a responsible business. For more practical help visit our fraud and security pages.

Our specialist fraud team

We employ a specialist fraud department within our Economic Crime function, that operates an agile, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, service to monitor transactions, and trained consultants are also 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, recognising a minority of attempts will unfortunately be successful, as criminals become ever more sophisticated. While we can’t eradicate fraud entirely, we aim to reduce the impact on our membership as much as we can. The vast majority of cases involve lower value transactions, often the result of card details obtained by fraudsters to make fraudulent purchases and most members can have their accounts quickly restored.


Authorised Push Payment scams

The pandemic changed spending patterns and fraudsters have adapted to this. Criminals are increasingly targeting consumers directly, attempting to obtain information or convince members to send money under false pretences, as part of a scam.

Authorised Push Payment (APP) scams have been a growing concern in the industry. In May 2019 Nationwide, along with several of our peers, signed up to a voluntary code of conduct which 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.

The majority of APP victims 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 but unfortunately some members still end up out of pocket.


Detecting and preventing fraud

We continue to invest in the security and resilience of our systems to protect against fraud and scams. Last year, our fraud defence systems and 24/7 specialist fraud team together helped prevent £113 million of attempted fraudulent card and online transactions from taking place (2020: £97 million). In addition, our branch colleagues protected our members from at least £5.5 million of attempted scams (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 developments in fraudsters’ tactics and maintain the level of prevention our members expect from us.


Raising members’ awareness of fraud

We continue to provide educational material to help members protect themselves and work on other ways to reach people.

When the national lockdown began, we quickly launched a number of national fraud education pieces and updated our online fraud education pages with coronavirus specific material. The landing page has since received over 850 thousand visits (from April to October 2020).

We also devote a segment of our regular Member TalkBacks to fraud and scam education. In 2020 we had to change to a virtual TalkBack. It’s a great way to interact with members and directly answer their specific questions about how to protect themselves.

Scam warnings

To highlight the risk of scams and help members protect themselves, we present warnings every time a new payee is set up online or in our mobile app and we suggest actions a member can take to spot a scam.

We continue to explore new ways to root out potential scams and contact members during a potentially risky transaction, recognising it’s a battle where we need to have a mutual commitment with members to help them take steps to stop the criminals.


Industry initiatives

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 industry: our peers, UK Finance, regulators and other critical bodies to share information on emerging issues and insights and look for ways to combat fraud at an industry level.