More than £9m worth of fraud stopped in first year of 'rapid response' scheme

More than £9 million of potential fraud has been stopped in the first year of a scheme which protects victims when they visit a bank or building society branch, a finance industry body has said.

In the 12 months since a pilot launch, the banking protocol has prevented £9.1 million of fraud - with individual customers protected from losing sums ranging from £99 up to £212,000, according to trade association UK Finance.

The "rapid response" scheme enables bank staff to contact police if they suspect a customer is in the process of being scammed, with an immediate priority response to the branch.

As well as preventing fraud, the initiative ensures a consistent response to potential victims.

UK Finance said the scheme has led to 101 arrests being made nationally, with police having responded to 1,262 banking protocol calls.

The banking protocol was first launched in October last year with a pilot in London, before a national roll-out started in May.

It was developed as a partnership between the finance industry, police and Trading Standards. The Post Office is also part of the protocol.

The scheme is now in place in 43 police forces across the country, with all remaining forces across the UK committed to introducing it, UK Finance said.
Katy Worobec, managing director of economic crime at UK Finance, said: "Fraud can have a devastating effect on some of the most susceptible people in society and it's by working together with law enforcement, and others, that we can make a real difference when it matters most.

"The finance industry is determined to crack down on fraud and is taking action on all fronts - the protocol is an important weapon in our armoury."

Lord Harris, chairman of National Trading Standards, said: "The National Trading Standards' scams team has been integral to the implementation of the banking protocol and I am pleased to see that it is already having a real impact.

"This example of partnership working is key to tackling criminal activity in a world where criminals are constantly innovating and finding new ways to convince consumers of their legitimacy."

Commander David Clark, City of London Police, said: "I applaud the initial success of the scheme and support it going forwards."