Bank staff prevent fraudsters stealing £13m from accounts

Organised crime report also reveals 112 gangs are operating in Scotland, boasting nearly 2500 members.

Alert bank staff have stopped millions of pounds being fraudulently withdrawn from customers’ accounts, according to a new report.

Tellers at most of the major high street banks were trained to spot the signs after the Serious Organised Crime Taskforce was founded in 2007.

A progress report published on Monday revealed its ‘banking protocol’ had stopped fraudsters getting their hands on £13m of other people’s money.

Most cases involved customers trying to withdraw unusually large sums of money or paying excessive amounts for services.

The report also revealed there were 112 organised crime groups in Scotland, involving around 2400 people.

It said 72% were operating in the west of Scotland, 18% in the east and 10% in the north.

Justice secretary and taskforce chair Humza Yousaf said: “Among the successes has been the implementation of the banking protocol, which has been adopted by most of the major banks operating in Scotland.

“Banking staff have prevented more than £13m from being withdrawn from the accounts of often older or vulnerable people.”

Major banks that have signed up to the banking protocol include Barclays, Bank of Scotland, Clydesdale, Nationwide, Royal Bank of Scotland, Santander and TSB.

Assistant Chief Constable Angela McLaren, of Police Scotland, said: “We cannot and will not become complacent in our efforts and we will continue to identify those involved in organised crime, dismantle their operations and bring them before the courts.”

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