Surrey Police and local industries stop £2 million of fraud by using the Banking Protocol scheme.
Surrey Police worked with branch staff at local banks, building societies and Post Offices to stop £740,000 worth of fraud through the Banking Protocol rapid scam response in 2020.
Launched in 2016, the Banking Protocol is a UK-wide scheme, developed in partnership between UK Finance, local police forces and National Trading Standards. The protocol oversaw the training of branch staff 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 suspected fraud.
In 2020, the Banking Protocol was invoked 164 times in Surrey and there have been 20 arrests in the county and £2 million saved since the protocol began.
The banking industry is working with law enforcement to build on this success and expand the scheme to telephone and online banking. These proposals would deliver a police response to the homes of vulnerable victims who have attempted to make a payment via online or telephone banking that has been flagged as potentially being part of a scam.
Customers would first be asked by the bank to visit their local branch to complete the transaction, enabling branch staff to carry out additional checks and use the Banking Protocol if necessary. If the customer is unable to visit their bank branch, for example if they are vulnerable or have a disability, staff would be able to directly alert the local police who will make a visit to the customer’s home and assess whether they have fallen victim to a scam.
An Example from The Police
This is what happened to a 47-year-old man in Surrey recently:
The man was approached by two men on his doorstep offering to clear his gutters. The man declined this service and the men left.
The following day, the man was approached by the same two men from the day before, claiming they had cleared his gutters and required payment of £2,000. The victim offered to pay by cheque but they refused and demanded cash.
The man visited his bank branch to withdraw £2,000 in cash. Bank staff were concerned that a scam may be taking place, so refused the withdrawal and called police, evoking the Banking Protocol.
A police officer attended the branch and spoke with the man, confirming he had been the victim of a scam. Thankfully, the bank’s actions meant that no money was lost and the victim received the appropriate safeguarding.
Well done the Police and the banks.
If you have any experiences with these scams do let me know, by email.