Fraudsters 'preying on people's emotions to steal their cash'

Fraudsters are preying on people's emotions such as excitement, trust and desire, a bank is warning, as it identified common online scams affecting consumers.

NatWest urged people to listen to their instincts and pause for thought before doing something they may regret.

It said one common scam is "goods not received" - when someone pays for something but does not receive it. This involves scammers playing on people's natural willingness to trust websites that appear to be authentic.

To help people avoid this scam, it is urging them to double check websites are safe before clicking the "buy" button and to check the contact address and other details of the company before sending any money away.

Secondly, the bank also highlighted romance scams as another danger, where fraudsters will often use flattery and manipulate victims to gain their trust.

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NatWest said anyone who is worried they might be being scammed in this way should speak to someone from their bank as soon as possible.

Thirdly, NatWest highlighted holiday scams, which involve fraudsters preying on people's excitement at the prospect of booking a trip away and their eagerness not to miss out on the best possible deal, only for the victim to find out later that the holiday is not real.

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National Government-backed campaign Take Five - to Stop Fraud urges people to take time to consider their options and not to feel pressured into doing something they would not normally do, such as transferring money to a stranger.

Jane Howard, managing director of personal banking at NatWest, said: "In order to protect yourself from falling victim to a scam, people should remain vigilant when browsing online or receiving an out of the blue phone call.

"Take Five and don't act straight away. Listen to your instincts and don't be pressured into making a payment."

Each month NatWest compiles a list of the top scams consumers face based on internal reports that are informed by their customer base.

The three scams highlighted by the bank have consistently featured in the list of top 15 scams of NatWest's monthly scam index.