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Westpac to send branch staff real-time scam alerts

Westpac to send branch staff real-time scam alerts

Westpac is implementing new scam-detection technology across its branch network to protect against a spike in fraudulent transactions since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The new technology will send Westpac branch employees real-time alerts as payments are being processed, so that suspicious transactions can be identified and investigated on-the-spot.

Westpac data shows that some of the most common scams include being tricked into sharing personal details through phone calls, texts or emails from scammers pretending to be a familiar business or government body, as well as dating or romance scams where customers are convinced into sending money or gifts to a prospective companion.

Westpac’s chief customer engagement officer, Ross Miller, says the average person loses $12,000 when scammed.

“With lots of people spending time in isolation and applying for government support through initiatives like JobKeeper, all against the backdrop of tax time, it’s never been more important to be educated against those looking to take advantage,” he says.

The technology works by providing real-time analysis through Westpac’s dedicated fraud team to indicate if the transaction is at high risk of being a scam or fraud. If a transaction is suspected fraudulent, the system will prompt a series of questions to help the banker determine whether to pause or decline the payment.

“While we can’t stop every loss, this is another layer in the net to help catch high risk transactions by using the latest real-time technology to analyse the transaction and detect potential scams or fraudulent activity,” says Miller. “We’re also using people power to bolster this technology, including further training for our frontline bankers to help with monitoring transactions and supporting customers if there is cause for concern.”

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