Tougher warnings and controls as banks fight scammers

Bank customers will soon face more warnings and delays when transferring money to someone new or upping their payment limits under a major industry-wide crackdown on scammers.

Nov 27, 2023, updated Nov 27, 2023
Photo: AAP

Photo: AAP

The tougher controls on payments is aimed at protecting customers from scammers who put pressure on them to transfer money quickly.

The enhanced warnings will come into force by the end of next year as part of a scam-fighting agreement signed by community-owned banks, building societies, credit unions and commercial banks on Friday.

The “scam-safe accord” also includes a $100 million investment into a new industry-wide name-checking system to make sure money is not paid to scammers with different names.

Biometric checks for new customers opening online accounts will also be introduced in a bid to stop identity fraud.

These checks will be either “detectable to a person’s behaviour” or “involve a check of a customer’s face or fingerprint”, the Australian Banking Association and Customer Owned Banking Association said in a joint release.

ABA chief executive officer Anna Bligh said the agreement marked the start of a “new offensive in the war on scams”.

“It reflects the banking sector’s unwavering commitment to safeguarding every Australian,” she said.

Westpac chief executive officer Peter King said the changes represented the biggest technical uplift in Australian banking in recent times.

“(It) means Australians with bank accounts will be significantly more protected from scams.”

Bank have also committed to more intelligence sharing across the sector, to develop an anti-scams strategy and payment limits to high-risk channels, such as some cryptocurrency platforms.


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