How it works

You see a complete bargain on a website that seems legitimate – maybe that new piece of tech you’ve had your eye on.

The seller asks you to pay by bank transfer outside of the website, rather than with a secure method like PayPal, credit or debit card.

You send them the money, but you never hear from them again, and your shiny new gadget never arrives: it’s a purchase scam.

Ask yourself

Even the most knowledgeable person can be tricked into a purchase scam. Take a moment to ask yourself:​

  • Why a bank transfer?
  • Why is it so cheap?
  • Can I trust this seller or website?


Always pay through a reputable website or app and take extra care in the rush of seasonal sales.

If something feels off, walk away – the deal that looks too good to be true, probably is.

For bigger purchases (like cars), make sure you see what you’re buying in person before you hand over any money.

Check we’ve got your mobile number, so we can reach you if we notice unusual activity on your accounts.

If a criminal convinces you to make a bank transfer, it can be difficult or impossible to recover your money.

If you're sent a one-time code when shopping online, do not share this code with anyone.

Protecting yourself against fraud during the coronavirus pandemic

Be aware that some criminals are exploiting coronavirus to trick people into sharing personal or financial information via phishing emails, texts and cold calls. See our security tips to find out how you can protect yourself.

Learn more about staying safe online at our next Member TalkBack Event

TalkBack events are a chance for you to hear from Nationwide’s Board and ask us anything you want about your Society. 

We’ll also be running a fraud awareness session alongside our TalkBack, as fraud is unfortunately on the rise. The session will be hosted by our Fraud Prevention Team, and will provide the opportunity to find out about the latest scams and how you can stay safe when shopping and banking online

Our next online TalkBack event is on 1 December, and you can choose to attend our afternoon session (1.30pm - 2.45pm) or the evening session (6pm - 7.15pm) which are both held through an online webcast.