An Aberdeen woman was almost scammed out of £10,000 by a fraudulent relationship scheme.
The woman in her 50s went to her bank in the city and requested to transfer £10,000 to an account in Malaysia.
This drew the suspicions of staff who invoked the Banking Protocol, which is an ongoing partnership between Police Scotland, the finance industry and Trading Standards.
Further inquiries revealed that the woman was in a relationship with a man who claimed to work at sea and requested she transfer the money to an unknown account to pay for items to be returned to the UK.
The woman had wanted to take out a loan for this amount.
She was advised by bank staff and police officers that this was actually a scam and she was provided with appropriate advice.
This incident happened in January and inquiries to trace the man are ongoing.
In the last financial year, (April 2019 – March 2020) £6.85 million of fraudulent transactions were prevented in Scotland by the Banking Protocol.
To date in this financial year (April – August) the protocol has also stopped almost 200 members of the public losing more than £1 million.
Due to the lockdown, which has prevented people going to their banks, there has been a decrease of around 50% in the number of incidents reported in this financial year compared to same period in 2019.
Now, as people are being able to return to the High Street, the opportunities for the fraudsters will increase and Police Scotland officers are urging the public to be vigilant.
Police Scotland’s Assistant Chief Constable, Angela McLaren, said: “We remain committed to working with our partners to protect people from becoming victims of fraud.
“Unfortunately, fraudsters will seek every opportunity to exploit anyone they perceive to be susceptible and who they can forge a controlling, exploitative relationship through fear, intimidation or false promises.”
“If you suspect you, or someone you know, has been the victim of finance fraud you should contact Police Scotland via 101, or in an emergency 999.”
The Banking Protocol in Scotland was launched in March 2018 and has seen bank staff being trained to spot the signs of a customer who may have fallen victim to a scam or who may be about to.
Staff look out for customers seeking to move large sums of money to a new account, an overseas account or making unusual transactions while in the branch. The staff member can alert police and speak to the customer.