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Westpac and CBA step up fight against scammers

Westpac and CBA step up fight against scammers

Stepping up its fight against scammers, Westpac has introduced real-time Confirmation of Payee security features for consumer and small business customers.

Westpac Verify will now include an up-front risk indicator to alert customers when there is a potential account name mismatch when they’re adding a new payee using a BSB and account number. It will also warn customers when Westpac has not made a payment to this account before.

Westpac head of fraud prevention, Ben Young, says the introduction of the new Westpac Verify feature could help stop more scams in the moment and could save customers millions.

Says Young. “Our latest customer scam data reveals losses have come down, but we know scammers are still wreaking havoc and having a devastating impact on people’s lives.

“Westpac Verify will help individuals and small businesses identify potential scams before they’ve made a payment, which could save them from losing significant amounts of money. The new capability helps to shut down scams including investment and fake invoice scams, which rely on the victim not realising they’re paying a scammer instead of their intended recipient.”

To further support businesses, Westpac is also extending its SaferPay capability to small business customers. Westpac SaferPay alerts customers to potential scams by asking a series of questions which are presented for new payments detected to have potential scam risk. If customer responses suggest the payment may be a scam, Westpac will not allow the payment to be processed.

In operation for consumer payments since March this year, Westpac says SaferPay has prevented customers from making approximately $1 million in potential scam payments.

Westpac will also now require customers to enter a description for payments to other bank accounts made via the mobile app, to help identify and block potential scam payments.

“The more information we know about a payment, the more our fraud systems can find the likely scams among the millions of genuine payments, and help to protect customers’ funds,” says Young.

Separately, rival bank CBA has beccome the the first Australian bank to integrate and share information into a new anti-scam intelligence loop (intel loop).

Co-designed by the Australian Financial Crimes Exchange (AFCX) and National Anti-Scam Centre (NASC), the intel loop means banks, telecommunications networks, internet service providers and social media companies can share information on scams between themselves, so that phone numbers and URLs used by scammers for calls and SMSs can be blocked, and fake websites, social media advertisements and posts taken down.

Information sharing between participants will be increased in phases, with an initial focus on reducing the number of SMS phishing scams. Since integrating, CBA has submitted over 1,200 entries into the loop containing scam phone numbers and dodgy URLs.

James Roberts, general manager group graud at CBA, says: “We view this as a ‘whole-of-ecosystem’ problem, with the majority of scams originating outside the banking sector, often as fake websites, texts and social media advertisements."

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