Revealed: the most common scams that tricked 7,000 NatWest customers

Goods that are never delivered, upfront fees and bogus invoices are among the scams most likely to fool bank customers, according to NatWest.

Tuesday, 18th April 2017, 11:39 am
Updated Thursday, 7th June 2018, 9:29 pm
Common scams

The bank has revealed that nearly 7,000 customers have become the victims of fraudsters since the start of 2016.

The lender, which under RBS chief executive Ross McEwan has been aiming to make itself a “safer, simpler bank”, says “goods not received” cases – when someone pays for items or services that are never delivered – were the most common scam.

These account for 2,073 cases seen by the bank – or about three in ten scams carried out against NatWest customers.

The lender said other hoaxes included “advance fee fraud”, where conmen ask customers for an advance or upfront payments for goods, services and/or financial gains that do not materialise.

There are also “spoof payment requests”, where people receive a bogus official request “purporting to be from someone senior in a company or a client, for payment or drawdown of funds”.

NatWest said business customers also continued to be defrauded for big sums via invoice fraud, when a firm receives an invoice that appears to be from a trusted trading partner but is actually fake.

Les Matheson, NatWest chief executive of 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.”

These are the top five scams affecting NatWest customers:

1. Goods not received - the customers pays for goods or services but does not receive them from the seller.

2. Advance fee fraud - Fraudsters ask for an advance or upfront payment for goods or services which fail to materialise.

3. Spoof payment requests - Fraudulent requests, possibly purporting to be from a senior figure in a company or a client, for payment or drawdown of funds.

4. Invoice fraud - An invoice appears to be from a trusted trading partner when it is not. The fraudster will say that their payment information has changed and the money should be paid into the new account.

5. Holiday scam - A holiday is booked, usually online, but it later turns out that the holiday does not exist.