Swindon & Wiltshire Business News

Bank branch staff and police team up to stop £19 million of fraud in first half of 2020

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A fraud prevention scheme that was piloted in Wiltshire has prevented £19 million worth of scams in the first half of 2020.

The Banking Protocol scheme enables bank branch staff to alert their local police force when they suspect a customer is being scammed – especially when they ask to withdraw unusually large amounts of money.

Between January and June this year, 3,250 calls have been made to police – 637 in June alone.

Over £19.3 million of fraud was prevented and over 100 arrests were made across the UK. The most common fraud included courier scams, romance fraud, and rogue traders. Vulnerable people and those aged over 65 are the most likely to fall victim to fraudsters.

It is sickening that criminals are preying on elderly and vulnerable victims during this difficult time. Bank branch staff on the frontline are doing a heroic job in stopping these cruel scams and helping bring those responsible to justice," said Katy Worobec, managing director of economic crime at UK Finance, the body that represents the banking and finance industry.

“The banking industry is now working with police forces to expand this scheme to telephone and online banking, with a focus on protecting vulnerable customers."

Since being piloted in Wiltshire three years ago, the scheme has prevented victims from losing £116 million of fraud and led to 744 arrests.