A rapid response scheme by banks and local police prevented potential fraud victims in Lincolnshire from being scammed out of £160,633 since September 2018, new figures have revealed.
A total of 57 emergency calls made through the industry-wide scheme in the same period.
The Banking Protocol trains bank staff to spot when someone is about to fall victim to a scam and try to prevent them from withdrawing cash to give to a fraudster, after which they can request an immediate police response to the branch.
The latest figures reveal that across the country the scheme has prevented £38million of fraud and led to 231 arrests in 2018. The average age of a customer helped by the Banking Protocol nationally last year was 71, showing how fraudsters are often targeting more elderly victims with these types of scams.
The Banking Protocol was rolled out by Lincolnshire Police in November 2017. Since March 2018, the scheme has been implemented by all 45 police forces across the UK.
There are now 52 payment service providers, including all the main high street banks and the Post Office, who are fully signed up to the Banking Protocol and have trained up their front-line branch staff in the steps that need to be taken when a customer is at risk.
Katy Worobec, Managing Director of Economic Crime, UK Finance, said: “Bank branch staff are on the front line in the fight against fraud, as increasingly sophisticated gangs target consumers directly and trick them into withdrawing large sums of cash.
“This rapid response scheme is giving bank staff the tools they need to protect vulnerable customers from scams, while helping local police catch fraudsters and bring them to justice.
“The banking industry will keep taking action on all fronts to combat fraud, working closely with our partners in law enforcement to crack down on the criminal gangs responsible.”
Detective Sgt Simon Gunn from the Lincolnshire Police economic Crime Unit said: “Unfortunately, fraudsters target those most vulnerable in our society, often repeatedly and the sad reality is that in the age of the internet, criminals can operate as easily from the other side of the world as they can from Lincolnshire itself. This can make it very difficult to investigate these offences.
"First and foremost, the Banking Protocol has been hugely successful in safeguarding and protecting victims in Lincolnshire from greater loss, by allowing police and other services to intervene earlier and more dynamically than would previously been possible, irrespective of where the criminals are located.
"We would always rather prevent a crime from succeeding in the first place wherever possible. The Banking Protocol is a great example of the benefits of cooperation and Lincolnshire Police will continue to fully support the scheme.”