Published on: 6 March 2023

What are 'safe account' scams?

‘Safe account’ scams are when scammers steal your money by getting you to move it to another bank account that they control.

They do this by calling people out of the blue and pretending to be from trustworthy organisations like your building society or bank, the police, or even the Financial Conduct Authority. They claim your money is at risk – your account has been compromised or there’s been a security breach – and that you need to urgently move it to an account they’ve set up for you for safe keeping.

The worst part is it’s you who moves the money, not them. So, when the money is sent to one of these accounts, it may be impossible to recover it. It’s often too late, the money is gone.

How to stop 'safe account' scammers

  • Stop and ask yourself a few quick questions.
    Why would my money be at risk? Has the caller given me any proof they are who they say they are? Why are they not just freezing my account? You'll soon see the scammer’s story doesn't add up.

  • Know that legitimate organisations would never ask you to move your money to another account.
    Your money is safe in your bank account. We monitor all our members’ accounts for fraud 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. If we spot something unusual on your account, we’ll block your card to stop any card payments and send you a fraud alert message by text or automated voice call. This is part of our Digital Banking Promise to our members to help keep their money safe and secure. 

  • Remember you can always hang up the phone and call us.
    If a call doesn’t feel right, hang up. You're not being rude. You're being safe and sensible. Put the phone down on them and call us using the number on the back of your card or our website. We’ll be happy to help and confirm whether it was us who called.

  • And don’t forget about our Scam Checker Service.
    If you’re ever unsure about a payment you’re making from your Nationwide current account, you can talk to us first. Call us, or visit us in branch, and we’ll tell you if we think it’s a scam or not. This is our Scam Checker Service. Some payments are excluded.

If you think you’ve been a victim of fraud or a scam, report it to us immediately.

Victim Support

Our partnership with this independent charity supports customers who’ve been a victim of fraud or a scam. They offer a tailored service to meet your individual needs. It’s free, non-judgemental and confidential. And they will help you for as long as you need.

The Nationwide Fraud team will refer you for further support if you need it.

Stop. Challenge. Protect

We're proud to be supporting the industry fraud awareness campaign Take Five, which encourages you to perfect the art of saying NO to criminals by taking five minutes to Stop, Challenge, Protect.

Criminals are experts at impersonating people, organisations and the police so it can be difficult to spot scam texts, emails and phone calls. However, there are things we can all do to protect ourselves.

Always remember to challenge if someone contacts you asking for your personal or financial information – be direct and say NO. Saying NO can feel uncomfortable but it’s OK to reject, refuse or ignore requests. Only criminals will try to rush or panic you.

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