Sussex Police teams up with banks for rapid response scheme to prevent scams

Those of you who remember the presentation by NatWest representatives at the Adur & Worthing Neighbourhood Watch annual general meeting in October last year will know that the police and the banks are working in tandem to thwart attempts at scamming – and it looks as though that partnership is succeeding.

Statistics for 2018 reveal that a rapid response scheme by banks and police prevented 353 potential victims in Sussex from being defrauded out of £2million.

Police are investigating

Police are investigating

The banking protocol trains bank staff to detect 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.

A total of 19 arrests were made by Sussex Police last year through the initiative.

The 353 calls to Sussex Police in 2018 from banks and other financial institutions under the banking protocol related to potential victims with an average age of 75.

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In each case, police responded and succeeded in ensuring the person did not hand money over.

Meanwhile, police have issued a warning to social media users after a teenager was targeted by a scam known as cash flipping.

Cash flipping is used by criminals who lure vulnerable victims into parting with a small amount of money and their bank details with the promise they will receive a larger sum in return for their services. Their account is then used for money laundering purposes.

Offenders will often create excuses as to why no reward is deposited, as previously promised.

While the financial loss can be minimal, detectives are warning young people that they could unknowingly assist in money laundering, an offence which carries a maximum sentence of 14 years’ imprisonment.

The Offington Neighbourhood Panel will meet at 10am at the Thomas A Becket pub in Rectory Road on Thursday, March 7.

• Tim Drew is the secretary and press officer for the Worthing Neighbourhood Watch Association. For more information about the Worthing & Adur Neighbourhood Watch Associations click here.

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