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Police bank branch response scheme prevents £362,000 of fraud in North Yorkshire in first half of 2021

Last modified: 14 September 2021 at 09:32am

Branch staff at banks, building societies and Post Offices worked with the police to stop £362,000 of fraud through the Banking Protocol rapid scam response in North Yorkshire in the first half of this year, according to the latest figures from UK Finance. In total, the scheme has prevented £174 million of fraud and led to 934 arrests since its launch in 2016.

The Banking Protocol is a UK-wide scheme, launched by UK Finance, National Trading Standards and local police forces. Branch staff are trained to spot the warning signs that suggest a customer may be falling victim to a scam, before alerting their local police force to intervene and investigate.

It is often used to prevent impersonation scams, in which criminals imitate police or bank staff and convince people to visit their bank and withdraw or transfer large sums of money. It is also used to prevent romance fraud, in which fraudsters use fake online dating profiles to trick victims into transferring money, and to catch rogue traders who demand cash for unnecessary work on properties.

Customers assisted by the scheme are offered ongoing support to help prevent them from falling victim to scams in the future, including referrals to social services, expert fraud prevention advice and additional checks on future transactions.

North Yorkshire Police Financial Abuse Safeguarding Officer, Andy Fox, said:

“The Banking Protocol is a highly effective tool in our fight against fraudsters who are relentless in targeting victims across North Yorkshire. Not only does it prevent the loss of money as seen in the huge amounts saved, it also enables us to offer fraud victims safeguarding support and advice, hopefully meaning they won’t fall victim to these scams again in future.”

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

“Fraud has a devastating impact on victims so partnerships like the Banking Protocol are not only crucial in helping vulnerable people, but it also stops stolen money from going on to fund other illicit activities including drug smuggling, human-trafficking and terrorism. 

“Criminals have continued to capitalise on the pandemic to commit fraud, callously targeting victims through impersonation, romance, courier and rogue trader scams. Branch staff and the police are working on the frontline to protect people from fraud and these figures highlight the importance of their work in stopping these cruel scams and bringing the criminals to justice. 

“It’s important 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.”

To build on the success of the scheme, banks and building societies are continuing to work with local police forces on expanding the process to cover attempted bank transfers made by customers through telephone and online banking.

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