Vulnerable Victims Safeguarded and Over £1m in Loss Prevented by Banking Partnership

A partnership which helps to safeguard potentially vulnerable victims from fraudsters has seen more than £1million in loss prevented in just four months.

The Banking Protocol is a national partnership scheme between UK law enforcement and financial institutions which helps banking staff to identify ongoing frauds.

West Yorkshire Police is signed up to the scheme and between April and July 2021 £1,114, 129 was prevented.

In addition, 27 potentially vulnerable victims were safeguarded. 

The scheme was developed in response to fraudsters who frequently target vulnerable people and attempt to trick them into visiting their bank or building society to withdraw money for a completely bogus reason.

The fraudster will often pose as a person in a trusted position– for example a police officer or an actual bank employee and will often claim that their victim needs to transfer their money to a new account because of a fraud within the bank.

Ramona Senior leads West Yorkshire Police’s Economic Crime Unit.

“Fraudsters often prey on people’s vulnerability and trusting nature. They will unashamedly target people who they hope to con out of money.

“It’s a heartless crime but initiatives such as the Banking Protocol are really helping to make a difference in not only stopping fraud but safeguarding victims too.

“The scale of the fraud (or attempted fraud) is shown by the amount prevented in just four months and it is a tribute to the hard work across West Yorkshire Police districts and our partners in UK Finance.

“Anything which helps to make life more difficult for criminals should be welcomed.

“Through the Banking Protocol we are working tirelessly to stop frauds and bring people to justice but I would also urge people to follow our advice to help make life more difficult for criminals and to pass the advice on to others too.”

Advice includes:

•    Organisations such as the police and banks will never ask you to give your account details, pin or security code over the phone and will never ask you to hand over cash, cards or high value items.
•    If you or someone you know receives a call from someone asking for this information and other details such as passwords then do not give it. End the call immediately and wait five minutes to make sure the caller has cleared the line or use a different phone to report the matter to Action Fraud.
•    If you are concerned about a call you have received, call police on 101 or Action Fraud on 0300 1232040 or visit the website – www.actionfraud.police.uk.” 
•    Fraudsters can often appear convincing and will often demand you do as they say quickly. Don’t let them rush you. Take five to consider what you are being asked.
•    Fraudsters will get in contact pretending to be from a range of organisations. Recent cases across West Yorkshire have included potential scams involving suspected rogue traders, cold callers asking the public to invest in businesses, messaging on social media, starting up relationships then asking for money or trying to obtain your bank details by pretending to be from Amazon, paypal, HMRC or a bank. We have also had fraudsters offering the covid vaccine for a fee by text message and asking for immediate payment. 

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.” 
 

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