A Northumbria Police initiative has helped to prevent more than £1.6m of fraudulent transactions.
In the two years since it was launched, Banking Protocol has helped to stop vulnerable people from being conned into handing over their savings.
As part of the initiative, the police, UK Finance, a number of high street banks, building societies and the Post Office work together to provide a more rapid response to financial fraud.
The scheme empowers all those involved to report suspicious banking activity as it is happening, catching offenders in the act.
Counter staff are trained to spot suspicious activity and serve as ‘critical friends’ to anyone they believe to be at risk or vulnerable to criminal activity.
Detective Chief Inspector Andy Fairlamb said: “Sadly, it is all too common to see the vulnerable in our society being targeted by unscrupulous fraudsters.
“This type of crime is abhorrent.
“The very nature of these offences means that by the time offences have been reported to police it is often too late to save the victim’s money, but being part of the Banking Protocol and working with partners means we have the chance to tackle fraud as it is happening.”
He added: “We would ask the public to remember that their banks, the police and any reputable organisation would never ask you to withdraw money, make payment using ITunes or Google vouchers, and would never encourage you to to conceal the fact you have done this.
“I want to praise everyone involved in this initiative for making it a success and reassure the communities we serve that we are determined to continue this proactive approach to tackling financial fraud.
“While we are committed to preventing such criminality from taking place, we want to assure our communities that if this does happen to you, we will pursue those responsible and do our very best to bring them to justice.”