Banks stop £200m fraud through rapid scam response

Employees across bank, building society, and Post Office branches have worked alongside the police to stop £202.8 million of fraud since 2016.

According to the latest figures from UK Finance, the Banking Protocol rapid scam response scheme stopped £60.7 million being lost to fraud last year – an increase of 34 per cent compared to 2020.

The protocol is a UK-wide scheme which was developed six years ago by UK Finance, National Trading Standards, and local police forces.

Under the scheme, branch staff are trained to spot warning signs which may suggest a customer is falling victim to a scam, before altering their local police force to investigate.

“The Banking Protocol has helped to prevent tens of thousands of people from becoming victims of fraud,” said Katy Worobec, managing director of economic crime, UK Finance. “Its success shows the importance of joint work between the police and banking industry, not only to protect customers but also to tackle the criminals behind these scams.

“Bank staff are trained to spot scams and as part of the scheme will assist customers by asking various questions when they are withdrawing or transferring money to help keep them safe.”

Last year, branch employees made 10,072 banking protocol calls to the police. The scheme led to the arrest of 162 suspected criminals last year, bringing the total number of arrests to 1,005 since the protocol began.

“The Banking Protocol continues to be one of the most vital ways of protecting vulnerable victims and preventing criminals from taking advantage of them, as banks are often the first point of contact when someone is about to fall victim to fraud,” said temporary commander Clinton Blackburn, City of London Police. “Partnership working across the finance sector is crucial in protecting people against fraud.

"It is great to see that the Banking Protocol is working so well and has prevented such significant loses to fraud since its inception in 2016.”

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