• Sat. Mar 11th, 2023

Westpac introduces increased scam protection following Commonwealth Bank

ByGurinderbir Singh

Mar 6, 2023

Westpac will boost its levels of online security in a bid to protect customers from potential scams as losses suffered by account holders reach a new peak.

The new software “Westpac Verify” will mean more alerts being sent to customers about suspicious transactions, with the option to cancel payments before the money is sent if the customer believes they’ve been scammed.

Customers will be alerted if there is a potential account name mismatch for payments to new BSBs and account numbers via the New Payments Platform (NPP).

They will also be alerted if there is an attempt to transfer money to a Westpac account which they have never interacted with before.

In both instances the attempted payment will be put on hold for four hours and customers will receive a text message asking them to review the transfer.

Westpac chief executive of consumer and business banking Chris de Bruin says the bank is seeing the number of scams skyrocket.

“Our latest customer scam data revealed customer losses reached a new record high in December, doubling from the year prior,” Mr de Bruin said.

“The majority of scam-related transactions happen when a customer is tricked into transferring their money to a scammer via online or mobile banking. They may think they’re sending money to a legitimate business, individual, or bank account they’ve been told has been set up in their name, but they’re not.

“Westpac will now pause some payments and give customers an opportunity to check if the recipient details are correct before proceeding with a transaction, adding another layer in the net to catch potential scams.

The move has been welcomed by the Australian Financial Complaints Authority’s (AFCA) chief executive, David Locke.

“AFCA is deeply concerned about the increase in scam complaints, the increasing sophistication of scams and losses caused by them,” Mr Locke said.

“The impact of a scam on a person can be devastating and life changing.”

The AFCA claims the number of complaints around scams rose by 28 per cent in the past year.

The organisation received 4131 complaints in relation to scams in 2021-22 at an average of around 340 a month.

“As well as industry-led initiatives, we also encourage people to talk to their friends and family, particularly vulnerable people they know, about the dangers of scams,” Mr Locke said.

“The more that people are aware, the less likely they are to fall victim to scams.”

The move by Westpac follows Commonwealth Bank’s (CBA) announcement of similar technology in February.

“In an Australian banking first, CBA is introducing its NameCheck technology to give customers an indication of whether the name and account details they entered look right,” the bank said during the announcement.

CBA also announced call verification so that customers can know if the bank is genuinely contacting them.

It works by sending a notification to the customer’s CommBank app to verify the call is from the bank.

Westpac’s new features are currently being tested and will be rolled out to customers over the next month.

Read related topics:Westpac

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.