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Aussie banks unite to fight against scams

Aussie banks have come together to introduce changes in their procedures in an effort to protect customers against the rising number of scams.

The Scam-Safe Accord was announced by the Australian Banking Association (ABA) and the Customer-Owned Banking Association (COBA) and is “another important step in Australia’s united battle against the scammer scourge.”

The federal government has been working with telecommunications companies to block scam text messages and is planning new industry codes.

The National Anti-Scams Centre has already disrupted countless scams in collaboration with industry and law enforcement. Thousands of investment scams and phishing websites have been taken down by ASIC’s new website takedown service.

The Accord includes six priority initiatives to make banking safer for Australians. These include an expansion of confirmation of payee, increased alerts to potential scam payments and payment delays for higher-risk transactions, and increased intelligence and data sharing across the sector.

Other measures involved in the initiative include biometric checks to stop the exploitation of bank accounts and the implementation of an Anti-Scams Strategy.

Every Australian opening a new bank account will be subject to the authorisation of payee solution technology, which allows an account name to be checked when starting or collecting a payment.

This comes at a crucial time as banks and telcos partner to try and disrupt scams in real-time. Vodafone and the Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA) announced yesterday an intelligence-sharing pilot designed to protect customers from increasing SMS scams.

The pilot sees Vodafone and CBA sharing SMS scam-related intelligence in near real-time which will allow the telco to identify and intercept scammers while CBA may implement blocks on suspicious fraudulent payments.

The partnership between Vodafone and CBA comes almost six months after CBA announced a pilot with Telstra to combat scams. Early simulations suggested that the prospect of improvements in the detection and prevention of scams could potentially mitigate customer losses of up to $15-20 million.

Australians have lost almost $430 million to scams this year alone.

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