A scheme which was devised to protect vulnerable people being conned out of their savings has now prevented more than £2 million of fraudulent transactions across the North East.
Northumbria Police joined forces with UK Finance, a number of high street banks and building societies and the Post Office in a bid to catch offenders in the act and provide a more rapid response to financial fraud.
The banks have referred a total of 312 incidents to officers in over two years, and as a result, victims’ life-savings and hard-earned cash worth a total of £2,041,160 has been prevented from falling into the hands of callous fraudsters.
Detective Chief Inspector Sharon Chatterton from Northumbria Police’s crime department said: “We are all well aware of vulnerable members of society being targeted for money by deceitful fraudsters who think preying on them is an easy way to make money.
“One of the challenges we face when dealing reports of crimes like these is that by the time victims report it to police, often it is too late to save their money. But thanks to the Banking Protocol, we now get notified as the crime is taking place and can often catch these fraudsters in the act.
“I’d like to thank everyone involved in this initiative, from bank staff to our call handlers. Thanks to your hard work and dedication we have prevented more than £2 million of going into the bank accounts of fraudsters.
“I want to assure the public we will do everything in our power to prevent such criminality from taking place but if it does, we will pursue those responsible and bring them to justice.”
Katy Worobec, Managing Director of Economic Crime at UK Finance, said: “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.”