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Santander and Nationwide expose latest scams duping unsuspecting customers

Paloma Kubiak
Written By:
Paloma Kubiak

Santander and Nationwide are warning customers about the increase in fake ticket and impersonation scams sweeping across the UK.

From 1 January to 31 July this year, the number of Santander customers reporting fake ticket scams more than doubled from 789 to 1,905 compared to the same period last year.

These ticket scams occur when a con artist sells a ticket for an event that doesn’t exist, or it’s fake meaning unsuspecting buyers are turned away at the venue door.

Typically advertised on social media or through fake websites, scammers claim they have tickets for a sold-out event or have tickets which aren’t on general sale. Pressure tactics are also used to secure the deal.

Fans only find out they’ve been scammed when tickets fail to arrive; a representative who was expected to meet the buyer doesn’t turn up, or individuals go to the event and are declined entry.

When they try to contact the seller, they’ve disappeared or ignore the buyer.

Nearly half of claims to Santander were made for bogus festival and concert tickets, while the average claim amount stood at £107.

Account holders aged under 35 were more likely to be targeted, with 60% of claims made by this age group.

Alarmingly, 14% of claims were made by 13-18-year-olds while just 2% were made by people aged 66 and over.

‘Too good to be true’

Chris Ainsley, head of fraud risk management at Santander, said: “Whether buying tickets for your favourite artist, the Rugby World Cup, or your football team, don’t score an own goal by getting scammed.

“If anybody has been contacted by a stranger or sees an advert online with a deal that seems too good to be true, it may be exactly that. People should be alert to potential scams and only buy tickets from official ticket sellers.”

Santander provided these five tips to help customers avoid becoming a victim of ticket scams:

  • Always buy tickets through trustworthy official sellers and websites, this is the safest way to book tickets.
  • Consider alternative payment methods that may offer greater protection such as credit cards.
  • If you are buying football tickets, be aware it is illegal to re-sell football tickets. You should always buy direct from the football club.
  • When buying online, check the payment pages are secure by looking for the padlock symbol in the address bar. The website should start with ‘https’.
  • If something looks too good to be true, it probably is.

Impersonation scams on the rise

Nationwide saw a 20% rise in impersonation scams, where fraudsters purport to be someone else, usually a bank, building society or the police, to trick people into transferring money to a ‘safe account’.

Victims of this con made an average claim to the mutual for £2,517.

It comes as its poll of 2,000 revealed 97% of households have been targeted by a scam call.

However, one in 10 admitted they would still transfer money into another account if contacted by someone claiming to be from their bank, building society or police.

Meanwhile, 8% would give someone remote access to their computer so that they could move the money for them.

Turning the tables on the scammers

A third hang up immediately if they believe a scammer has called, while 28% don’t pick up as they screen their calls for unrecognised numbers.

But more than half (58%) admit to having given scammers “a taste of their own medicine” by bombarding the suspicious caller with questions at every step; keeping the caller on for as long as possible; being rude before hanging up; pretending to be someone else and making up elaborate stories or they answer the call and walk away.

Jim Winters, Nationwide’s director of protect, said: “Impersonation scams have become so commonplace that it’s understandable how many people have become almost desensitised to being called. But while it might be entertaining to have a bit of fun at a scammer’s expense, we would always urge people to be cautious when dealing with a suspicious caller.

“If in any doubt, hang up and check it was really them that called. The fact is, if someone is asking you to transfer money into another account then it will be a scam.”

The mutual gave these tips for customers to stay safe:

  • Stop, check Nationwide Scam Checker Service and ask yourself a few quick questions like why would my money be at risk? Has the caller given me any proof they are who they say they are? The scammers’ story may then unravel.
  • Know that legitimate organisations wouldn’t ever ask you to move your money to another account.
  • Hang up the phone and call Nationwide’s fraud team on 0800 055 66 22.