Police and banks working to stop fraud against vulnerable people
•Banking Protocol scheme alerts local police to suspected scams.
•202 emergency calls were made in Sussex between January and June 2021, protecting customers from losing an average of £11,115 to criminals.
•Use of the scheme has led to 10 arrests in Sussex in the first half of this year.
Branch staff at banks, building societies and Post Offices worked with the police to stop £1,268.182 of fraud through the Banking Protocol rapid scam response in Sussex 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 national 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.
The latest figures reveal that branch staff invoked the Banking Protocol 202 times in Sussex between January and June 2021, saving potential victims an average of £11,115 each. Real life case studies from the first half of the year are included at the bottom of this release. Ultimately the scheme led to the arrest of over 10 suspected criminals in Sussex in the first half of this year.
The Banking Protocol was rolled out by Sussex Police in June 2017. Since March 2018, the scheme has been implemented by all 45 police forces across the UK.
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.
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.”
Bernadette Lawrie BEM, the Financial Abuse Safeguarding Officer for Sussex and Surrey Police said:
“This is a great initiative demonstrating how working together with the Banking Sector, we can prevent crime and protect vulnerable victims from financial loss and safeguard them against further targeting”.
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
Public urged to be vigilant after people scammed on Facebook Marketplace
Police are warning people to be vigilant after a number of scams involving items being sold on Facebook Marketplace.
Officers across the county have recorded a spate of crimes in recent months in which the buyer, known as Peter Shyne, arrives at people’s houses after agreeing to purchase an item they advertised for sale.
Once they agree on a price, Shyne shows a payment being made using a banking app on his phone, followed by confirmation the transaction has gone through. When the money does not arrive in the buyer’s account immediately, he explains it sometimes takes a while and then leaves with the item. The seller later realises it was a fake account.
So far, scams have been reported involving an Apple Watch, a Nikon camera and accessories worth £1800, among other items.
Officers investigating the incident have warned people to be alert.
PC Clare Horner-Locko said: “We have had at least eight of these reported to us in West Sussex, with another in East Sussex.
“The concern is there are more victims out there. We’d like to hear from anyone who has been affected by an incident like this, so we can gather as much information as possible and stop this scam from carrying on.”
The suspect is described as white, 5’ 10” to 6’ tall, of heavy build and with a strong Irish accent. He is usually wearing a baseball cap and a facemask.
Anyone with information is asked to report it online or call 101 quoting serial 664 of 03/09.
Daisy, reported missing from Pease Pottage, found
A teenager reported missing from Pease Pottage has been found safe.
Daisy, 13, had last been seen on Monday (September 20).
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