Banking industry-funded police unit stops £85m fraud

The Dedicated Card and Payment Crime Unit (DCPCU) has prevented £85 million being stolen by fraudsters in the first half of the year.

The specialist police unit is funded by the banking and finance industry and is made up of officers from the City of London Police, Metropolitan Police Service, and employees at financial trade association UK Finance.

The figures come weeks after UK Finance revealed that branch staff at banks, building societies, and Post Offices worked with the police to stop £32 million worth of fraud through the Banking Protocol rapid scam response during the same period.

Investigations by the DCPCU during the first six months of 2021 led to the arrest of 67 suspected criminals, including several involved in scams exploiting the Covid-19 pandemic, with 24 organised criminal gangs disrupted.

Some 49 criminals were convicted during the period following DCPCU operations.

“These figures are testament to the hard work of the DCPCU officers who are on the frontline in the fight against fraudsters,” said detective chief inspector Gary Robinson, the head of the Dedicated Card and Payment Crime Unit (DCPCU.) “Criminals continued in their attempts to capitalise on the pandemic by targeting people’s finances and anxieties, impersonating trusted organisations such as the NHS and government departments.

“By working closely with the banking industry and other partners including the Crown Prosecution Service we are continuing cracking down on those responsible for fraud.”

Those caught included a criminal who was sentenced to four years and three months in prison for sending out thousands of scam texts which collected people’s personal and financial details by claiming to be from the NHS about a Covid-19 vaccination.

Other successful operations by the unit include the sentencing of an organised crime group who committed £1.2 million of fraud and the jailing of a criminal who stole £172,000 from cash machines.

Meanwhile, collaboration with social media and telecommunications partners enabled the unit to take down 125 social media accounts linked to fraudulent activity.

The unit is currently investigating over 140 live cases, including 43 organised crime groups.

“Fraud has a devastating emotional impact on victims and the money stolen goes on to fund serious organised crime, including terrorism, human trafficking and drugs smuggling. The DCPCU is central to the industry’s efforts to protect customers from fraud, disrupting the criminal gangs responsible and providing a strong deterrent to potential fraudsters,” added Katy Worobec, managing director of economic crime at UK Finance, which represents around 300 British financial services institutions. “The unit’s collaborative work with banks, social media companies, the telecoms sector and government has been instrumental in bringing criminals to justice and preventing fraud.”

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