Links with banks and Trading Standards boost fight against fraud


A fraud prevention scheme aimed at identifying and protecting potential fraud victims has stopped more than £100,000 being passed to criminals in Staffordshire in the last two months.

The scheme, launched at the end of September, developed as a partnership between the police, Trading Standards and the finance industry, enables bank staff to contact police if they suspect a customer is in the process of being defrauded, with a rapid response to the branch.

In October and November, we received five calls where concern for six adults (four men and two women) was reported and recorded. This included three ‘romance frauds’ and one ‘carer fraud’.

Romance fraud works through social engineering rather than any kind of sophisticated technology. The fraudster typically creates a profile on a dating or social networking site, exploiting information that potential targets have posted. As soon as the fraudster has gained the trust of the victim, he or she will typically profess to have fallen in love, and soon after that, begin requesting money. They may claim to have an emergency need for funds or may request money for air-fares to visit the target. Among other possibilities, the fraudster may request photos or personal information that could eventually be used to blackmail the victim and extort more money.

Detective Inspector Rob Harvmann, of the force’s Fraud and Financial Investigation Unit, said: “Fraud can have a devastating impact on some of the most susceptible people in society and it’s by working together with Trading Standards and the finance industry that we can make a real difference. This joint working is a great example of taking action to protect people from becoming victims.”


Sourced from Staffordshire Police