Commonwealth Bank of Australia is beefing up its retail security safeguards with the introduction of anti-skimming devices at ATMs and real-time automated telephone alerts for suspicious transactions.
Australia has been a target for international criminal gangs intent on exploiting weaknesses in mag-stripe cards to steal money from bank customers. In March, police sent out an alert for a gang of thieves who looted A$500,000 from up to 5000 ANZ customer bank accounts using details obtained from a skimming device attached to a cash machine in Melbourne.
Annual fraud figures from the Australian Payments Clearing Association (APCA) released in December last year showed that counterfeit/skimming scams represented 32% of the total value of fraud on credit and charge cards and 40% of the total value of debit card fraud.
CBA says the new anti-skimming kit will be implemented across its entire retail network following pilot tests at a limited number of sites.
CBA group executive retail banking services Ross McEwan bills the roll-out as a "significant security investment" for the bank.
"In the current climate one of the key issues for customers is security and protection of their finances and personal banking information," he says.
McEwan says the bank has also recently bolstered its credit card fraud notification system so that customers are contacted even more quickly should any potentially suspicious transactions occur on their account.
The voice activated Adeptra telephone alert system triggers an automated call to the customer to ascertain the legitimacy of a recent transaction via a pre-recorded script followed by prompts to follow for further action where required.
"We can now contact customers within seconds of any potentially fraudulent activity," says McEwan. "While this does not completely eradicate fraudulent activity, it does ensure that accounts can be shut down quickly to limit the impact on the customer, and allow remediation action to begin quickly and efficiently to return customers' funds."
Other security measures on the way include gas detection and dye systems in ATMs to deter tampering; two factor identification for online card and NetBank transactions; and continued roll-out of chip-based authentication on credit and debit cards.
Says McEwan: "Fraudsters and thieves are unfortunately becoming more and more sophisticated and bold in their methods and we are committed to investing whatever we need to in order to stay ahead of their game."