British banks have joined forces with the City of London Police to use terrorist-fighting techniques to take on cyber-fraudsters, preventing the theft of nearly £175 million over the last few months.
The police force's National Fraud Intelligence Bureau (NFIB) has starting using its sources to identify bank accounts it suspects are being used to take money from UK citizens and businesses.
The information is then passed on to the British Bankers' Association (BBA) which issues alerts. Between April and December last year, 20,000 suspect accounts have been identified and shut down through the partnership, preventing the theft of £173.9 million, claims the BBA.
The partners now plan to extend their cooperation, with the police training thousands of bankers a year through workshops to spot scams, creating a "virtual ring of steel" around the City of London.
Commissioner Adrian Leppard says: "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 or being used as a facilitator for organised crime."
Anthony Browne, chief executive, BBA, adds: "Cyber crime and fraud are some 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 want to go further."