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Banking Protocol prevents over £227,000 of fraud across Warwickshire

Fraud worth over £227,000 has been prevented across the Warwickshire policing area with the help of a scheme aimed at identifying and protecting potential fraud victims when they visit a bank or building society.

A Banking Protocol introduced by Warwickshire Police in September 2017 has already paid considerable dividends. Some 50 calls have now been received and responded to, blocking the loss of over £227,000.

The Banking Protocol was developed as a partnership between the finance industry, trading standards and the police, enabling bank branch staff to call the police if they believe their customer is being scammed or exploited. Police response to the branch is rapid and trading standards can be involved where appropriate. The Banking Protocol process helps to prevent frauds taking place, and helps to protect vulnerable victims.

Branch staff, call handlers, police and trading standards officers in each area have all been trained in the Banking Protocol and the steps that need to be taken when a customer is at risk.

Across the country all 45 police forces and 49 financial institutions are committed to using a Banking protocol. This has led to a total of over 360 arrests and prevented almost £40 million in fraud.

As well as standing in the way of attempted frauds, the scheme ensures a consistent response to potential victims, providing them additional support to prevent them becoming a victim in the future.

UK Finance has led the way in the development and implementation of the Banking Protocol, with backing from the National Trading Standards Scam team and the Joint Fraud Taskforce.

Detective Inspector Emma Wright from the Warwickshire & West Mercia Police Economic Crime Unit said: "West Mercia Police is fully committed to tackling fraud and protecting people from harm, especially those who are vulnerable.

"The Banking Protocol has now been operating for 15 months and it is great news that so many incidents have been triggered and been successfully responded to by police. The scheme has stood in in the way of fraudsters getting their hands on a significant amount of money, often from elderly or vulnerable people. There are numerous investigations still ongoing as a result of the Protocol, which we hope will have a positive outcome in terms of bringing those responsible to justice."

She added:

"With Christmas approaching, and people spending far more than at other times of year to buy presents and get ready for their Yuletide celebrations, this is exactly the season when fraudsters know that shoppers' guards are down, making them particularly vulnerable to scamming. People should never give money to someone they don't know and should be on their guard while having a great Christmas. Don't let the fraudsters spoil it for you."

Katy Worobec, Managing Director of Economic Crime at UK Finance, commented:

"Fraud can have a devastating impact on victims and is often targeted at the most vulnerable people in society, which is why we must work together to prevent it. The Banking Protocol shows how close cooperation between the industry and law enforcement can help to protect victims and crack down on fraudsters. This kind of joined-up approach is crucial to stay one step ahead and ensure that unscrupulous scammers preying on customers are brought to justice."

Issued: 1pm, Monday 17 December, Nigel Sargeant, Corporate Communications

Published 17/12/18