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Scheme prevents nearly £1 million being handed over to fraudsters

17 September 2019
A partnership involving local banks and Dorset Police has helped to prevent nearly £1 million getting into the hands of fraudsters.

The banking protocol scheme sees bank staff trained to spot when someone is about to fall victim to a scam and aims to prevent them from withdrawing cash or transferring money to a fraudster, with an immediate notification to police.

A total of 168 alerts were raised with Dorset Police from August 2018 to August 2019, with 37 transactions found to be genuine and 131 requiring further investigation.

As a result total losses of £979,912 were prevented. In August 2019 alone there were 17 alerts relating to 11 suspected scams with £51,000 prevented from being handed over.

The average age of those targeted was over 72, with most common type of scams involving rogue traders, phone calls requesting the intended victim to go to a bank and transfer or withdraw cash and romance scams where contact is made, typically via an online dating site, and trust is built up before the offender elicits sums of cash from the victim.

Inspector Phil Swanton, of Dorset Police, said: “We recognise the impact these offences can have on victims and it is encouraging that through this scheme we have been able to prevent a significant amount of money being handed over to fraudsters.

“We continue to work to prevent vulnerable people from becoming victims of fraud and urge anyone who believes they have been targeted by a scam or has concerns for a relative to contact police.

“I would remind members of the public that banks will never send someone to collect your bank cards from your address, ask you to go to the bank and withdraw cash or ask for your PIN over the phone. They will also never call and ask you to transfer money from one account to another.

“If someone calls claiming to be from your bank and you have doubts over their validity, we advise that you ask for their name, hang up and then call your bank directly.”

For more crime prevention advice visit www.dorset.police.uk/help-advice-crime-prevention/scams-fraud-cyber/.

To report an offence contact Dorset Police at www.dorset.police.uk, via email 101@dorset.pnn.police.uk or call 101.

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