Nationwide warning as dangerous impersonation scams soar – ‘more convincing!’

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Nationwide are concerned about the prevalence of Britons being targeted by sophisticated scams due to a lack of awareness on the matter. The building society states even those who consider themselves to be savvy can fall victim as the scams become more complex. Ruses via impersonation scams often include pretending to be from the police, a bank or building society, utility or telecoms companies or a Government body such as HMRC or the DVLA.

With economic crime on the rise, the chances of being targeted could be more likely and many could be at risk. 

As a result, the building society is encouraging Britons to stop and think about the risks before completing a payment to ensure they are not being targeted. 

Ed Fisher, Head of Fraud at Nationwide Building Society, commented on the matter.

He said: “People may think it’s surprising that others fall for scams, but the criminals are becoming ever more convincing both in what they say and the technology they use, intercepting emails or spoofing texts to look like they are genuine. 

“It’s one reason why the number of impersonation scams has increased significantly – people who fall for them are not careless.

“But the key to thwarting the scammers is education and learning as much you can about the tricks they use as well as telling your friends and relatives what to look out for. 

“As a mutual, we’re always looking for ways to improve how we look after our members and help them avoid becoming a victim. 

“As well as the information available on our website and guidance on screen when setting up payments digitally, we recently launched our Scam Checker Service to give members the opportunity to speak to us in branch or over the phone via a dedicated number, to check a specific payment with us before making it.”

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Although many state they have their wits about them, one in five of those asked do not scan email addresses properly or at all for signs of tampering.

Similarly, 67 percent of people answer calls from a number they either do not know or is withheld. 

Close to half of those asked said they do not think they would be likely to fall for a scam.

However, when asked, some one in eight individuals stated they did not know what an impersonation scam is. 

To help, Mr Fisher also shared key tips with Britons to help them avoid becoming a victim of an impersonation scam.

The first is that if someone ever receives a suspicious call, text or email, they should not automatically believe it is who they believe it to be, even if the message claims to be from a company an individual can trust.

Next, people should never act on a call out of the blue or transfer money at a caller’s request as a genuine organisation would never ask a person to move money to another account for security reasons.

People should never give anyone remote access to their computer following a cold call or random text, nor should they allow anyone to view their internet banking activity for any reason.

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As a fourth point, Mr Fisher said individuals should never feel rushed or pressurised into making a decision or taking action and should instead investigate the authenticity of the caller or message.

Those who have any sort of doubt should either hang up the call or delete the email concerned to protect themselves.

Finally, it is important to share any concerns a person may have about the legitimacy of correspondence they receive.

Britons can immediately call their bank, building society or even the police from a different phone, or email them using a trusted email address.

A debit or credit card will always have the bank or building society’s official number on the back for genuine calls. 

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