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18th Sep, 2021

West Mercia Police team up with banks, building societies and Post Offices to prevent £880,000 worth of frauds

Ross Crawford 12th Sep, 2021

BRANCH staff at banks, building societies and Post Offices in West Mercia worked with police to stop £880,000 of fraud through the Banking Protocol rapid scam response, in the first half of this year, according to the latest figures from UK Finance.

Police say the public are more likely to become victims of fraud than any other crime.

In total, the scheme has prevented £174million 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 the police to intervene and investigate.

The latest figures reveal branch staff invoked the Banking Protocol 111 times in West Mercia between January and June, 2021, saving potential victims an average of £7,000 each.

Ultimately this led to the arrest of five suspected criminals in West Mercia.

The Protocol is often used to prevent impersonation scams, where 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, where 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.

Det Sgt Jon Cooper from the West Mercia Police Economic Crime Unit said: “The Banking Protocol has consistently demonstrated the opportunity for success which is possible when the police and partners work together.

“We know the public are more likely to be a victim of fraud than any other type of crime, so a whole system change was in order to tackle the scourge of fraud.

“The majority of victims being targeted are elderly and vulnerable people.

“I would encourage everyone to please be aware of the scams that can be very convincing and to remember that the police will never contact you to discuss your money, bank accounts or ask you to withdraw money and give it to a courier.”

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