Police and bank branch staff prevented £254,532 of fraud in Gwent between January – June this year as a result of the ‘Banking Protocol’.
The latest figures, from UK Finance, demonstrate the success of the UK-wide scheme which enables bank branch staff to alert their local police force when they suspect a customer is being scammed. Police will then visit the branch to investigate the suspected fraud and arrest any suspects still on the scene.
Branch staff are trained to spot the warning signs that suggest someone may have fallen for a scam and make an emergency call to the police. In Gwent 37 calls were made in the first six months of this year.
A range of scams that trick victims into withdrawing cash from their branch have been prevented through the scheme, including courier scams, romance fraud and rogue traders.
Those assisted by the scheme are offered ongoing support to help prevent them falling victim to scams in future. This includes referrals to social services, expert fraud prevention advice and additional checks on future transactions.
The scheme first launched in Gwent in 2018 and, so far, we've saved more than one million pounds.
Detective Inspector Samantha Elliott said:
“The Banking Protocol provides police with an early opportunity to identify, protect and safeguard vulnerable people. The scheme helps us obtain evidence early on in order to maximise our chances of apprehending suspects.
“We liaise with the banks and provide training locally to ensure that the banking protocol is activated when they suspect that an offence may be in progress.
“Our call handlers in our force control room are trained to respond to the calls and it’s their prompt response in alerting officers that is key to the schemes success.”
Katy Worobec, Managing Director of Economic Crime, UK Finance, commented:
“It is sickening that criminals are preying on elderly and vulnerable victims during this difficult time. Bank branch staff and police on the frontline are doing a heroic job in stopping these cruel scams and helping bring those responsible to justice.
“It’s vital that people always follow the advice of the Take Five to Stop Fraud campaign, and remember that a bank or the police will never ask you to transfer funds to another account or to withdraw cash to hand over to them for safe-keeping.”