A fraud prevention scheme aimed at identifying and protecting potential fraud victims when they visit a bank or building society branch has stopped more than £380,000 being passed to criminals in its first eight months in Greater Manchester.
The Banking Protocol, developed as a partnership between the finance industry, Trading Standards and police, enables bank staff to contact police if they suspect a customer is in the process of being scammed, with a rapid response to the branch.
The Banking Protocol helps bank staff spot the signs and take action if they notice a customer withdrawing cash or making transfers in a way that is out of character. As part of the new Protocol, staff are expected to ask the customer more questions about their transaction and the reason for it.
If the member of staff thinks that the customer is vulnerable and may have been a victim of fraud, then they must notify their supervisor to find out more information. At this point, if the bank feels that this person is a victim, they will notify police.
The Banking Protocol was launched in Greater Manchester in April 2017 and so far has prevented 102 people falling victim to £383,263 worth of fraud.
Last week police were called by a bank on Bramhall Lane South, Bramhall, to reports of suspicious activity. Officers attended the bank and discovered a man who had been asked to withdraw a large amount of cash by cold-callers to pay for work on his roof. Five men were arrested in connection with fraud offences and have been released under investigation.
Detective Superintendent Nicky Porter from Greater Manchester Police’s Serious Crime Division said: “Fraudsters prey on some of the most vulnerable people in society with the average age of victims in Greater Manchester being 70.
“The Banking Protocol, despite only being launched a few months ago, is making a huge difference and has already prevented 102 people falling victim to this hideous crime.
“We remain absolutely committed to tackling fraud and welcome any tool which assists us in our fight against it. We will continue to work alongside the finance industry and Trading Standards to make Greater Manchester a no-go area for fraudsters.”
Katy Worobec, Managing Director of Economic Crime at UK Finance, said: “Fraud can have a devastating effect on some of the most susceptible people in society and it’s by working together with law enforcement, and others, that we can make a real difference when it matters most. The Banking Protocol is a great example of this collaboration in action protecting people from becoming victims. The finance industry is determined to crack down on fraud and is taking action on all fronts - the Protocol is an important weapon in our armoury.”
To report a crime, please call 999 in an emergency or 101 to report a non-urgent issue.