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Nationwide unveils new scam checker service

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Nationwide Building Society has launched a new service to help prevent customers from being scammed.

The mutual said it hopes the Scam Checker Service will reduce Authorised Push Payment (APP) scams, where criminals trick people into moving money into a fake account by posing as a legitimate organisation.

Customers will be able to check a payment they are worried about either in branch or by a calling a freephone number.

Specially trained staff will discuss the nature of the payment with the customer and highlight any red flags.

Customers who fall victim to an APP scam after being given the go ahead to make the payment will be refunded in full under the Society’s new Scam Protection Promise.

According to Nationwide data, speaking to customers before they make a payment could help identify and stop up to two thirds (65 per cent) of attempted scams each year.

However, consumer group Which? said more needs to be done to protect people.

Jenny Ross, money editor at Which?, said: “Fraud can have a devastating financial and emotional impact on victims, so it’s positive to see Nationwide trying to take steps to prevent their customers from falling victim to bank transfer scams.

“However, the onus is still on consumers to spot a possible scam and we know criminals use very sophisticated tactics to trick victims and ensure they don’t contact or even trust their bank. It’s not clear how much additional protection this new service offers and how effective it will be.

“The payments regulator must also urgently work with the government to introduce mandatory and more robust rules of consumer protection and reimbursement requirements for all payment providers, to ensure that customers are protected and treated fairly and consistently if they fall victim to a scam.”

Total losses due to APP scams rose to £355.3m in the first half of 2021, up 71 per cent compared to the same period in 2020, according to UK Finance data.

The number of cases rose 60 per cent to 106,164.

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