A bank manager has told how scam victims can be in “total disbelief” that they have been dealing with a fraudster after staff have stepped in to help.
The industry-wide Banking Protocol scheme helps bank staff to intervene and alert local police quickly to the scene after they spot the warning signs in branches that customers are being scammed.
Sheena Evans, service and sales manager for HSBC UK at Liverpool Lord Street, said staff have been trained to spot unusual transactions or requests that do not fit in with customers’ usual behaviour.
If the customer appears tearful or nervous or is rushing a transaction, this can raise warning flags.
Customers and their family members are eternally grateful to us for spotting the fraud and potentially saving them from losing large amounts of moneySheena Evans, HSBC UK, Liverpool Lord Street
Ms Evans said: “Sometimes we see customers who are in total disbelief that they have been dealing with a fraudster and can continue to believe the story the fraudster has given them. It can take both branch staff and police to eventually convince a customer they have been the victim of a crime.”
She said there can be “tears and embarrassment” when the penny drops, adding: “It is important for us to console the customer and reassure them. We can arrange for family to be contacted to support them at this time.
“Customers and their family members are eternally grateful to us for spotting the fraud and potentially saving them from losing large amounts of money.”
Cases where HSBC UK staff have invoked the protocol include a couple who were known to be vulnerable who wanted to withdraw thousands of pounds to get their roof fixed. It turned out their roof was fine and their “builder” was a fraudster who did not manage to get the couple’s cash.
Another customer kept being asked to send money in order to receive a large insurance payout. Staff stepped in as they could see the customer was being scammed.
Ms Evans continued: “We know that fraudsters and scammers can be very convincing so would encourage customers who think they may have been a victim of a scam to come and talk to us.”
She added: “The days we stop a fraudster winning are some of the best days we have at the branch. What a sense of accomplishment.”