The British Bankers’ Association (BBA) and the City of London Police have announced plans to train thousands of bankers every year when it comes to spotting scams and acting quickly to protect customers.
Using key techniques developed in the fight against terrorism, the BBA and the City of London Police want to create a ‘virtual ring of steel’ around the City of London, echoing the renowned physical security that protects the UK’s financial centre.
The agreement follows close working between banks and the City of London Police which has prevented fraudsters and cyber criminals stealing £173.9 million from bank customers over the last nine months.
Information circulated by the force’s National Fraud Intelligence Bureau (NFIB) to businesses, and disseminated by the BBA as alerts to banks, has led to the identification of 20,000 accounts that were at risk of, or being used to acquire money from victims between 1 April and 31 December 2013.
By working together, the banks and the police protect victims who are targeted by organised criminals. Using information received from a variety of sources, the NFIB identifies suspect bank accounts which are being (or may be) used to take money from UK citizens or businesses. Once an alert is issued, steps are then taken to terminate these accounts in order to prevent/reduce further victimisation and harm that the related activity may cause.
Rising threat of cyber criminality
The working relationship between the BBA and the City of London Police is world leading in the fight against the rising threat of cyber criminals. The partnership now aims to establish a global centre of excellence that will help to train banks from around the world.
Training workshops will focus on the latest threats and techniques in the battle against cyber crime such as investigating fraud, bribery and corruption.
Commissioner Adrian Leppard of the City of London Police said: “Over the past 175 years we have learned that the best way to keep the City’s streets safe is by standing shoulder to shoulder with those who live or work in the Square Mile or who visit for leisure purposes.”
Leppard added: “Now in 2014, and serving the country as the national policing lead for economic crime, the City of London Police is also focusing on the rapidly evolving and expanding threat of fraud and cyber crime. The next logical step for us to take is to create a ‘virtual ring of steel’ around what is the financial engine room of the UK. The way we are going to do it is by teaming up with City workers and sharing our experience and expertise with the banks that are now the target of, or being used as a facilitator for organised crime.”
Anthony Browne, the BBA’s CEO, commented: “Cyber crime and fraud are two of the biggest security threats that we face. The systems that we have set up with the City of London Police have helped to protect hundreds of millions of pounds of customers’ money, but we now want to go further.”
Browne explained: “We want to create a ‘virtual ring of steel’ around the City of London and make it even more difficult for cyber criminals to operate here. The banks are often the first line of defence against fraudsters and criminals. By working together we know we can be even more effective at combating cyber crime in order to offer even better protection to our customers.”