‘The aim is to scare you!’ Nationwide scam warning as Britons duped into ‘investigation’

Nationwide is a popular building society helping Britons save money each year, but it also has a responsibility to protect its customers, and regularly issues warnings about scams. Unfortunately, scams have become more common, especially during the COVID-19 crisis and many Britons are now aware of false text messages which could be a way of making them part with their money. However, scammers are developing new techniques in order to dodge the public’s knowledge, and continue to target unsuspecting victims. 

As the alleged investigation is deemed to be an “undercover” matter, this is how the criminals convince their victims not to tell anyone, especially the subject of the supposed crime – the local Nationwide branch of the individual concerned. 

Instances of this type of scam can involve Britons being asked to make purchases, withdraw cash or make transfers in a supposed effort to check their bank branch is not undertaking criminal activity.

But ironically, it is the person concerned that ultimately becomes the victim, with many standing to lose significant sums of money. 

In some cases, criminals could even trick a person further by sending out a courier to collect cards, PINs or valuable items.

Often these individuals can be extremely convincing, and will play on fear and panic they instil into innocent members of the public, using a wide variety of techniques to dupe people. 

Nationwide has said it will never ask for a person’s card or PIN, or indeed ask them to withdraw money or buy items on their behalf.

This is also the case, the building society stressed, for the police or any other genuine organisation.

It urged Britons never to hand over money or bank cards, or make purchases following calls they receive out of the blue. 

The organisation Take Five to Stop Fraud cited an example of a man who was contacted about a supposed undercover police operation.

Damon – not the individual’s real name – was instructed to make a large withdrawal from his account, which would then be handed over to the police for “analysis”.

Believing he would receive his money back after the investigation, Damon handed his money over to people he believed represented the police. But once this transfer was made, he never heard back from the supposed police officer ever again.

As a result then, Britons are being urged to remain on their guard to protect themselves against becoming a scammer’s next victim.

Those who believe they may have fallen for such a scam are told to contact their bank or building society immediately on a number they know to be correct.

This could be obtained on the back of one’s bank card, on a bank statement, or through the provider’s official website.

People can report the matter to the police by calling 101, and can also raise the issue with Action Fraud, the national cybercrime and fraud reporting service. 

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