A NEW rapid response scheme by banks and police has prevented potential fraud victims from being scammed out of £1.64million in Cheshire, new figures reveal.

The Banking Protocol trains bank staff to spot when someone is about to fall victim to a scam and try to prevent them from withdrawing cash to give to a fraudster.

In Cheshire, five arrests were made from 59 incidents with a total of 90 people protected by the scheme.

PC Mike Wynne, from Cheshire Constabulary’s economic crime unit, said: “The scale and borderless nature of fraud means we need to find new and innovative ways to protect the public and deter criminals.

“The Banking Protocol is a key example of this and shows how partnerships between policing and the private sector are being used to protect the public from falling victim to fraud.

“These statistics show that the scheme has already prevented millions of pounds being lost to fraudsters.”

The initiative trains bank branch staff to spot the signs of a scam and what steps need to be taken when a customer is deemed at risk.

If a staff member suspects a customer is being tricked by a fraudster, they will take them aside to ask additional questions.

If their suspicions are confirmed, the staff member can then invoke the Banking Protocol and contact the police, who will send a priority response to the branch.