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Foiling fraudsters and keeping people’s money safe was the focus of a talk provided to residents at a community centre in Herne.
On Thursday 3 November 2022, Emma Swietochowski-Hay, Fraud Prevention Co-ordinator at Kent Police, joined representatives from HSBC at The Herne Centre in St Martin’s View. Together they offered crime prevention advice to the local community and handed out information to remind them of the ways in which they can protect themselves from fraudsters.
Bank staff are trained to spot the warning signs and many of the businesses work very closely with Kent Police across the county to protect as many people as possible. The Banking Protocol is a UK-wide scheme that enables bank branch staff to alert their local police force when they suspect a customer is being scammed. Police may then visit the branch to investigate and in some instances arrest suspects still on the scene.
On 6 October 2022, a Gillingham pensioner was targeted by fraudsters and it was the bank staff that were concerned and alerted police after he had attempted to withdraw a large sum of money. This collaborative work led to four men being arrested by officers. In Broadstairs on 9 August 2022, a bank raised similar concerns to police, which led to officers being able to protect a vulnerable person and arrest three men.
‘Our partnership approach with banks has led to many scams being intercepted, particularly after rogue traders have tried to convince vulnerable people to withdraw large amounts of cash for work on their homes that they don’t need doing.‘Not everyone has access to the internet and events like these help to reach more people who may not know what risks are out there. We also appreciate that some of the most vulnerable in the county may rarely get to mix with others or leave their homes. It’s important to be aware and to spread the advice as much as possible. We urge people to look out for neighbours and make sure they know to challenge anyone who calls them or knocks on their door and not to feel pressured into saying yes to any work they didn’t ask for.’
Lola Durodola, a Local Director from HSBC, added:
‘It was a pleasure to have Emma from Kent Police with us for another one of our very important community events. We are proud to work collaboratively with the force to provide financial education, safety tips and bring general awareness that will help people keep their money safe and protect themselves from harm.’