Police in the English county of Dorset have succeeded in keeping almost £1 million from fraudsters after introducing a new collaboration with local banks.
The scheme trains bank staff to spot when an individual may be transferring or withdrawing money after falling for a scam.
It has helped to identify rogue tradespeople, phone and romance scammers, saving consumers £979,912 in total.
Since launching in early 2019, the initiative has alerted police to 168 suspect transactions. The average age of the consumers making these transactions was 72.
Inspector Phil Swanton said: “We recognise the impact these offences can have on victims and it is encouraging that through this scheme we have been able to prevent a significant amount of money being handed over to fraudsters.
“We continue to work to prevent vulnerable people from becoming victims of fraud and urge anyone who believes they have been targeted by a scam or has concerns for a relative to contact police.”
A number of regional police forces have taken steps to protect online daters in 2019. In April, Sussex and Surrey forces began to pilot data sharing with the dating industry’s own fraud detection service Scamalytics.
In the US, multiple county sheriffs have opened ‘exchange zones’ where the in-person component of an online transaction or interaction can take place. In Georgia, the Clayton County Sheriff’s Office recently encouraged online daters to use the local zone when meeting a date for the first time.
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