8th February 2019

Bank branch staff prevent victims losing £38m to fraud in 2018

A new rapid response scheme by banks and the police prevented potential fraud victims from being scammed out of £38m in 2018, figures published by UK Finance have revealed.

The Banking Protocol trains bank staff to spot when someone is about to fall victim to a scam and try to prevent them from withdrawing cash to give to a fraudster, after which they can request an immediate police response to the branch.

A total of 231 arrests and 4,240 emergency calls were made through the industry-wide initiative last year, with an average of £8,960 being prevented per call. The average age of a customer helped by the Banking Protocol last year was 71, showing how fraudsters are often targeting more elderly victims with these types of scams.

Commenting, Katy Worobec, Managing Director of Economic Crime, UK Finance, said: “Bank branch staff are on the front line in the fight against fraud, as increasingly sophisticated gangs target consumers directly and trick them into withdrawing large sums of cash.

"This rapid response scheme is giving bank staff the tools they need to protect vulnerable customers from scams, while helping local police catch fraudsters and bring them to justice. The banking industry will keep taking action on all fronts to combat fraud, working closely with our partners in law enforcement to crack down on the criminal gangs responsible.”