Hampshire banking system targets fraudsters and saves thousands of pounds

A BANKING fraud initiative prevented people being scammed out more than £300,000 in November.

Wednesday, 4th December 2019, 5:04 pm
Updated Monday, 9th December 2019, 3:37 pm
In November a Banking Protocol initiative saved more than £300,000 of potential fraudulent activity. Photogrph: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire

The Banking Protocol scheme trains bank staff to spot when someone is about to fall victim to a scam and prevents them from withdrawing cash to give to a fraudster. The bank then activates an immediate police response.

In November, the protocol was activated 23 times in the Hampshire Constabulary area which prevented £310,725 falling into the hands of fraudsters. This is the highest monthly total stopped by the scheme in Hampshire this year.

Det Sgt Sarah Dring, from Hampshire Constabulary’s Volume Fraud Investigation Team, said: ‘This is the highest monthly total we have seen in 2019 and I would like to thank bank staff for their vigilance. It’s very important that bank staff can recognise the signs that someone may be the victim of a scam and call us. Often the victims do not know they are being scammed so these interventions are vital. As well as banking staff, we can all do our bit to protect people from fraudsters by being aware of common scams and telling those who may be more vulnerable.’

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One such potential scam took place on November 11 when police received a report that an 82-year-old woman from New Milton had been called by someone claiming to be from the Visa Fraud Department.

The caller claimed that there had been fraudulent activity on the victim’s bank account and asked her to transfer £4,000 of her savings into another account for safeguarding.

When the woman went to her bank, staff suspected it might be a scam and the matter was reported to the police.

Det Sgt Dring added: ‘Banks, Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs, police or any other authority figures will never contact you by telephone and ask you for bank details or ask you to transfer money. If someone calls you in this way, it is a scam. Hang up, and use a different phone line to call 101 and report it immediately.’

Hampshire Constabulary was one of the first forces in the UK to use the Banking Protocol in June 2017, leading to millions of pounds of potential fraudulent activity being saved, including £1.4m in 2018.