mayor-richard-clifton_27121480262_o-1Barclays, HSBC and NatWest have been praised for their vigilance in preventing customers from being tricked out of savings from their accounts.

Staff at these branches in Sutton High Street raised concerns when elderly customers came in to make large, out-of-character withdrawals from their accounts.

With the customers’ permission, Police and Council Trading Standards officers were called and found that customers were being cheated by bogus builders and telephone scammers.

NatWest reported saving one of their customers nearly £6,000 when a ‘builder’ called at a customer’s home claiming water damage to an adjoining wall meant it could collapse and that an urgent repair was needed. Branch staff were suspicious and prevented the customer from being conned.

In another incident HSBC said one of their customers received a telephone call purporting to come from them saying that there had been fraudulent activity on their account. The customer was told to withdraw £4,000 to go into a new account but was stopped from doing so when counter staff raised the alarm.

Staff at Barclays have also been involved in helping protect their customers.

On Tuesday, 22 November, The Mayor of Sutton, Councillor Richard Clifton, presented the banks with certificates recognising their good work and contribution to keeping Sutton safe.

The Mayor said: “I am pleased to have presented these certificates for the work these bank branches and their staff have done in order to tackle rogue traders and save the public from being defrauded in this way.

“This is great work between the Police, Sutton Council and its Trading Standards team and the banks themselves.”

The Mayor was accompanied by Brian Cox from Sutton Council’s Trading Standards team and Safer Neighbourhoods Inspector Kathy Morteo, who is responsible for West cluster wards including Sutton Central.

Police and Trading Standards have visited more than 50 banks, building societies, Post Offices and currency exchanges over recent years to encourage staff to be vigilant.

Insp Kathy Morteo said: “This is all about protecting elderly and vulnerable people from unscrupulous traders and telephone callers.”

Police advise residents to never reveal their bank details to anyone – banks will have PIN and account numbers and would never ask for them. Also never agree to do business with an unknown doorstep trader asking for money upfront.