Consumer Action CEO Stephanie Tonkin says Westpac’s announcement of a new verification system for payments and money transfer measures to new accounts are “…steps in the right direction to help stop the plague of online scams.”
Westpac has said it will begin to alert its customers of a potential account name mismatch for payments, or if a customer is seeking to transfer money to an account Westpac has never transacted with before.
“Australia is a soft target for scammers, that’s why we lost $4 billion to these crooks last year -that’s an incredible $11 million and during a cost-of-living crisis too -,” says Ms Tonkin.
“We hear all the time from people who have lost their entire life savings or have been tricked into schemes that destroy their finances, causing disaster for them and their family.
“We are all being targeted by increasingly sophisticated scams, and some will be stopped by the introduction of more robust customer identification systems like the one announced by Westpac.
“Westpac and Commonwealth Bank are taking the lead in enhancing protections against scammers for customers, but all banks have a duty to do much more to protect their customers.
“It is completely unfair that individuals bear the full losses associated with scams when scammers must have access to bank accounts to succeed. The current lack of financial incentive for the banks to fix this has meant that innovation and improvements are too slow to be implemented across the sector.”
For more information read our briefing paper on how to incentivise scam prevention.
Media contact: Mark Pearce, Media and Communications Adviser, 0413 299 567, firstname.lastname@example.org