The Banking Protocol - a ground-breaking rapid response scheme - has led to six arrests and prevented £282,210 of attempted fraud in Notts
The scheme means branch staff can immediately alert police and Trading Standards to suspected frauds taking place
94 emergency calls have now been placed and responded to under the scheme in Notts
More than £282,000 of fraud has been prevented and six arrests made by Nottinghamshire thanks to the introduction of the Banking Protocol, a ground-breaking scheme aimed at identifying and protecting potential fraud victims when they visit a bank or building society branch. Since it was introduced locally in May 2017, a total of 94 reports have now been placed and responded to through the scheme.
Developed as a partnership between the finance industry, police and Trading Standards, the Banking Protocol enables bank branch staff to contact police if they suspect a customer is in the process of being scammed, with an immediate priority response to the branch. Branch staff, call handlers, police and trading standards officers in each area have all been trained in the Banking Protocol and the steps that need to be taken when a customer is at risk. Across the country the Banking Protocol has now led to a total of 197 arrests and prevented almost £25m in fraud, while 3,682 emergency calls have now been placed and responded to through the scheme.
As well as stopping frauds taking place, the scheme ensures a consistent response to potential victims and gives them extra support to prevent them becoming a victim in the future. UK Finance has led the development and implementation of the Banking Protocol, with support from the National Trading Standards Scam team and the Joint Fraud Taskforce.
Detective Inspector Yvonne Dales from Nottinghamshire’s Fraud team said: "The Banking Protocol has now been in place for just over 12 months. Throughout this time we have built up excellent working relations with the banks who have enabled us to very quickly intervene and prevented vulnerable individuals from being financially exploited. We’re really pleased to see these positive results come through as anything that helps prevent fraud should be recognised."
Katy Worobec, Managing Director of Economic Crime at UK Finance, commented: "Fraud can have a devastating impact on victims and is often targeted at the most vulnerable people in society, which is why we must work together to prevent it. The Banking Protocol shows how close cooperation between the industry and law enforcement can help to protect victims and crack down on fraudsters. This kind of joined-up approach is crucial to stay one step ahead and ensure that unscrupulous scammers preying on customers are brought to justice."
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Q&A on Banking Protocol
How does the Banking Protocol work?
If an individual visits a branch and requests to withdraw or transfer a sum which appears unusual for them, branch staff will take them to one side and politely enquire about the reasons for the financial transaction. If staff suspect the customer is potentially going be a victim of fraud they can call 999 and there will be an immediate priority response to the branch by police. This prevents the individual becoming a victim, potentially facilitates the arrest of the fraudster and ensures that the customer receives prevention advice to reduce their risk of becoming a victim in the future.
Why is this different to what happened before?
While branch staff could previously contact police, the response received would vary greatly from one police force to another. This new system means that a priority response is guaranteed, with all branch staff and police handlers aware of the process and confident in its use. It means branch staff can be confident to call the police and know that if they have a customer waiting in the branch that the police will be there soon.
What sort of crimes are involved?
A range of frauds can be prevented through the Banking Protocol. This includes rogue traders trying to get unnecessary work done on a victim’s house; impersonation scams with fraudsters claiming to be bank staff or police and convincing the victim to transfer money to a "safe account", or auction scams where the individual demands to be paid in cash.
When was it introduced?
The Banking Protocol was first launched in October 2016 with a pilot in London, before a national rollout began in May 2017. Since March 2018 it has been implemented by all 45 police forces in the country.
Which financial institutions are involved?
48 financial organisations, including the Post Office, are committed to the Banking Protocol nationally. Any organisation proving banking facilities with a branch network are welcome to join the scheme for free.