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Police, banks and Trading Standards unite in Warwickshire and West Mercia, stopping over £167,000 of fraud

Thanks to a new financial crime reporting system called the Banking Protocol - now in its fourth month in Warwickshire and West Mercia - more than £167K of fraud has been stopped in the regions.

The Banking Protocol gives bank branch staff a fast route to alert police and Trading Standards to suspected frauds taking place. Warwickshire Police and West Mercia Police joined the initiative in September this year, and by the end of November had helped stop £167,560 of fraud.

In several cases in West Mercia, the Banking Protocol has also helped get further safeguarding put in place to protect vulnerable people from future fraud.

In one of these instances, fraudsters pretending to be police tried to trick an elderly woman into handing over thousands of pounds towards a fake financial crime investigation. In another, rogue traders tried to persuade an elderly man to withdraw a large amount of cash to overpay for gardening services. In each case, specially trained bank staff were able to spot suspicious activity, call the police, and prevent the fraud from taking place.

Detective Inspector Emma Wright from the West Mercia Police Economic Crime Unit said: "Warwickshire Police and West Mercia Police are committed to tackling fraud and protecting the most vulnerable people in our society.

"We are pleased to report that in the short period following the launch of the Banking Protocol across our policing areas, a number of incidents have been responded to by police. This has kept significant amounts of money out of the hands of fraudsters, who, in many cases, had been trying to take it from elderly or vulnerable people.

"In addition, a number of investigations are ongoing to catch those responsible for the offences".

The Banking Protocol was developed as a partnership between the finance industry, police and Trading Standards. It was first launched in October 2016 with a pilot in London, before a national rollout began in May 2017. It is now in place in 43 police forces across the country.

Nationally, in the 12 months since the pilot was launched until the end of October 2017, the Banking Protocol has prevented £9.1 million of fraud across the UK. Individuals have been protected from losing sums ranging from £99 to £212,000. So far, the scheme has led to 101 arrests being made across the UK, with police responding to a total of 1,262 Banking Protocol calls.

Katy Worobec, Managing Director of Economic Crime at UK Finance, said: "Fraud can have a devastating effect on some of the most susceptible people in society and it's by working together with law enforcement, and others, that we can make a real difference when it matters most.

"The Banking Protocol is a great example of this collaboration in action protecting people from becoming victims. The finance industry is determined to crack down on fraud and is taking action on all fronts - the Protocol is an important weapon in our armoury."

 

More information on preventing and reporting fraud:

  • Action Fraud (www.actionfraud.police.uk/) is the UK's national fraud and cyber crime reporting centre. You can report a fraud or scam on their website, or by phone on 0300 123 2040.
  • Cyber Aware (www.cyberaware.gov.uk) offers simple advice to make internet users safer. For example, it explains how to choose secure passwords and update software to ensure your devices are protected.
  • Take Five (takefive-stopfraud.org.uk) is a national awareness campaign that asks consumers to take five seconds to stop and think before they give away their money or their information. It offers the latest advice on various types of online financial scams and frauds.

 

 

Issued by corporate communications (LR), on 13 December at 9.30am.

 

 

Published 13/12/17