POTENTIAL scam victims living in the Dyfed-Powys Police area have been saved from losing more than half a million pounds in just one year thanks to a fraud prevention scheme.

The ground-breaking Banking Protocol enables bank staff to contact police if they suspect a customer is in the process of being scammed, with a rapid response directed to the branch.

The scheme was launched in the autumn of 2016 as a way of identifying and protecting potential fraud victims when they visit a bank or building society. Dyfed-Powys Police joined in 2017 and has since received 49 calls for service from banks and building societies across the force.

In the past year, the protocol has prevented a loss of £561,520, and has allowed officers to identify 32 previously unknown vulnerable victims.

Paul Callard, of the Dyfed-Powys Police Financial Crime Team, said: “We know that the most vulnerable in our communities are being targeted and defrauded by heartless criminals, using a variety of methods.

“A common method for fraud offences to be carried out is by encouraging victims to go to their bank, building society or Post Office to withdraw cash or transfer money out of their account.

“Through the Banking Protocol, bank and building society staff can contact us directly if they have any concerns about someone withdrawing large amounts of money, or attempting an unusual transaction.

“We are able to identify and protect potential fraud victims, and by working in partnership with the finance industry and Trading Standards we can really make a difference and protect the most vulnerable.

“Thanks to the Banking Protocol we have succeeded in preventing over £500,000 being lost to fraudsters since autumn 2017 in Dyfed-Powys alone, and prevented the victimisation of some of the most susceptible.

“This is testament to the impact that can be directly attributed to the Banking Protocol, and we are excited to see further positive success stories as we move forward.”

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