To raise awareness of how customers can protect themselves against scams, NatWest held an event at Westminster on Tuesday 18 April with the aim of encouraging MPs to become ‘Scambassadors’. Scambassadors are a feature of the National Trading Standard’s ‘Friends Against Scams’ initiative and are tasked with raising awareness of safe financial behaviours in their local community.
Top scams revealed
At the event, which was addressed by Security Minister, Ben Wallace, and NatWest CEO of Personal and Business Banking, Les Matheson, NatWest revealed the scams most likely to catch customers out. Since the beginning of 2016 almost 7,000 customers have become the victims of scams. Of these 7,000, ‘goods not received’ scams are the most common with 2,073 cases recorded. ‘Goods not received’ scams occur when a customer pays for goods or services but does not receive them from the seller. They typically happen on online auctions and marketplaces and they account for 3 in 10 of all scams carried out against NatWest customers.
While most people associate fraud with individual personal account holders, business customers can also be victims of scams. The single most expensive scam in the top ten is ‘invoice fraud’. Invoice fraud occurs when a business receives an invoice that appears to be from a trusted trading partner but it is actually a fake. The fraudster typically says that payment arrangements have changed and that the customer should pay the outstanding balance to the new account, which is operated by the fraudster rather than belonging to the trusted trading partner. Each business targeted loses, on average, £30,000 to this type of fraud.
NatWest encourages scam-aware behaviours
Louise Baxter, National Trading Standards, said, “We welcome the release of this data from NatWest. Scams cost the UK up to £10 Billion a year and cause devastating harm to victims. The support of NatWest, the first financial partner of Friends Against Scams, has been vital in combatting the rise in scams. Bank staff are the first line of defence against the people trying to defraud unsuspecting victims of their cash”.
Les Matheson, NatWest CEO Personal and Business Banking, said, “We know scammers can be convincing and they work round the clock to persuade their victims to part with money. We have hundreds of people working 24/7 to detect and stop fraud, but it’s very important that, as individuals and businesses, we know how to protect ourselves.”
To protect customers and encourage scam-aware behaviours, NatWest has:
- A specially trained team of Community Protection Managers across the regions who work to protect customers from financial abuse;
- Trained branch staff how to spot the signs of a scam and how to deal with them;
- A dedicated fraud response team who are a point of contact for customers who have been victim of a fraud;
- Fraud reporting lines open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year;
- An online security centre that offers support to customers.