Fighting fraud on the front line

With Post Offices becoming more and more important for people doing their everyday banking, bill payments and money transfers, our team in Sheffield showed how invaluable our face-to-face relationship with our customers is when they stopped an older gentleman being defrauded out of over £2,000. Balsam Al-Bazz, Stannington Road, Sheffield, was visited by one of her regular customers who usually visits the branch at least twice a week to withdraw cash and pay utility bills.

On this occasion, he asked to do a Moneygram transfer to send over £2,000 to a recipient in China, not a usual transaction for this customer. Mrs Al-Bazz asked if this was for a friend who was travelling or relative who had moved abroad. The customer said that he had received a threatening call purporting to be from a member of staff at BT saying that he had accidentally been sent £2,000 by the company and needed to transfer the money back to an account in China or the caller would lose his job. Without alarming this gentleman, Balsam suggested he spoke to BT to confirm the story and come back tomorrow and do the transfer then if he still wanted to go ahead. Returning the next day, Balsam’s customer told her that after speaking to BT he realised that it was in fact a scam and he didn’t owe BT anything! Mrs Al-Bazz provided him the contact details for the local Trading Standards body.

This shows just how valuable our unrivalled relationship with our customers is. Knowing the type of transactions they usually do with us means we can spot anything out of the ordinary and talk to them there and then to find out more about their transaction and whether they need to think again.

Branches should report all suspicious activity by calling Grapevine on 0845 603 4004 or alternatively complete and submit a Suspicious Activity Report (SAR) by post to AML Team, Future Walk, 1 West Bars, Chesterfield, S49 1PF. You can also follow the Banking Protocol process if it is live in your area. For more information please contact