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Bank staff prevented £55m worth of fraud last year

Rebecca Goodman
Written By:
Rebecca Goodman

Bank and building society staff who are trained in spotting scam warning signs stopped £55.5m of fraud last year, according to industry figures.

There were also 197 arrests of criminals and staff made 11,643 phone calls to the police regarding potential fraud incidents.

If a staff member sees a sign that a customer, either in a branch or on the phone, may be a victim of crime they contact the local police force to intervene and investigate.

The potential victim is then offered ongoing support to help prevent them from falling victim to a banking scam in the future. This includes fraud prevention advice, referrals to social services, and additional checks being carried out on future transactions.

The training is part of the Banking Protocol rapid scam response scheme which was developed by UK Finance, National Trading Standards and local police forces.

Since it was first created in 2016, £258.2m of fraud has been prevented, 45,488 calls have been made to local police forces by banking staff, and 1,202 arrests have been made, according to UK Finance.

Yet despite the scheme being in place, last year more than £1.2bn was lost to banking scams and three quarters of those started on social media platforms.

Impersonation and romance scams often spotted

UK Finance said that the Protocol is used to prevent all types of financial fraud including impersonation scams whereby a criminal imitates banking staff or police.

Romance fraud is also common, when criminals use fake dating profiles to trick victims into parting with their money. Between 2020 and 2022, romance fraud rose 95% with £65m taken from victims during this time.

Ben Donaldson, managing director of economic crime, said: “The Banking Protocol continues to help prevent people falling victim to fraud and prevents millions of pounds getting into the hands of criminals.

“This is a brilliant demonstration of collaboration between the police and the banking sector and it will continue to be an important part of the industry’s efforts to prevent fraud.”