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Police save £250,000 from being lost to fraudsters in a month

South Wales Police

More than a quarter of million pounds was prevented from being lost to criminals during September by colleagues across the force recognising when someone might have been a victim of fraud.

The Banking Protocol is a national initiative based on joint working between law enforcement and financial institutions, facilitated by UK Finance – in which banks, post offices, travel exchanges and others are expected to alert police if they have and doubts or suspicions about a customer’s request to withdraw money.

These suspicious requests could be something such as a customer suddenly trying to withdraw all their funds or going in to their overdraft when they’ve never done so before.

In scams such as courier fraud, when criminals collect cash or cards from their victim in person, fraudsters often tell their would-be victim that the police are corrupt or that the bank is being investigated and so they should not tell anyone why they are withdrawing cash.

A cover story is provided by the criminal to the victim for them to relay to any bank staff who question the circumstances, while there is sometimes also a risk that the fraudster is still on the phone when the customer visits the bank – and suspects have even occasionally accompanied victims to the bank.

The Banking Protocol relies on bank staff reporting their concerns and calling police promptly, and for officers on arrival to ask the right questions and find the true reason for the withdrawal.

And a new system put in place in South Wales Police means Public Service Centre (control room) colleagues can work closely with attending police officers to try and draw out the real reason for a suspicious withdrawal, with further support provided by our specialist Economic and Cyber Crime Unit.

It’s a real team effort, and during September, nearly £260,000 was saved from being lost by would-be victims. A huge thanks to everyone for their continued hard work in helping safeguard people across South Wales.