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Banks and police combine to stop fraud victims losing £1.64m

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A NEW rapid response scheme set up by banks and police has prevented potential fraud victims from being scammed out of £1.64million in Cheshire, new figures reveal.
The Banking Protocol trains bank staff to spot when someone is about to fall victim to a scam and try to prevent them from withdrawing cash to give to a fraudster, after which they can request an immediate police response to the branch.
In Cheshire five arrests were made from 59 incidents with a total of 90 people protected from a loss totalling £1.64million.
Across the UK the scheme led to a total of 231 arrests with 4,240 emergency calls made, with an average of £8,960 being prevented per call.
The average age of a customer helped by the Banking Protocol last year was 71, showing how fraudsters are often targeting more elderly victims with these types of scams.
More than 50 payment service providers, including all the main high street banks and the Post Office, are now fully signed up to the Banking Protocol and have trained up their front-line branch staff in the steps that need to be taken when a customer is at risk. Since March last year, the scheme has been implemented by all 45 police forces across the UK.
Katy Worobec, managing director of economic crime, UK Finance, said: “Bank branch staff are on the front line in the fight against fraud, as increasingly sophisticated gangs target consumers directly and trick them into withdrawing large sums of cash.
“This rapid response scheme is giving bank staff the tools they need to protect vulnerable customers from scams, while helping local police catch fraudsters and bring them to justice.
“The banking industry will keep taking action on all fronts to combat fraud, working closely with our partners in law enforcement to crack down on the criminal gangs responsible.”
PC Mike Wynne, from the Cheshire Police economic crime unit, said: “The scale and borderless nature of fraud means we need to find new and innovative ways to protect the public and deter criminals.
“The Banking Protocol is a key example of this and shows how partnerships between policing and the private sector are being used to protect the public from falling victim to fraud.
“These statistics show that the scheme has already prevented millions of pounds being lost to fraudsters and as the national lead force for fraud, the City of London Police will continue to combat this crime type.”

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