Australians are confronting a surging tide of sophisticated scams entering our lives, causing significant financial losses and emotional distress.
Today we have joined forces with customer-owned banks across the country and the Australian Banking Association (ABA) in a united approach to combat scammers and protect customers.
Scams are a serious issue, and scammers are robbing everyday Australians of their wealth through sophisticated manipulation. Scamwatch data shows scammers stole $3.1 billion from Australians in 2022 alone.
Escalating efforts are being made to address these crimes appropriately as fraudsters develop new ways to target vulnerable customers and con Australians out of their money. COBA and the ABA have joined forces to launch a new Scam-Safe Accord as part of a united commitment from the banking industry to make Australia a hard target for scammers.
The Scam-Safe Accord outlines key initiatives banks are undertaking to help protect Australian consumers and small businesses based on the principles of disrupt, detect, and respond.
• Banks will deliver an industry-wide confirmation of payee solution to customers
• Banks will take action to prevent misuse of bank accounts through increased verification
• Banks will introduce warnings and payment delays to protect you.
• Banks will invest in a major expansion of intelligence sharing across the sector.
• Banks will limit payments to high-risk channels to protect customers.
At the heart is a $100 million investment by the industry is a new confirmation of payee system to reduce fraud and help people know who they are dealing with. The design and build of an industry wide confirmation of payee system is a major undertaking, expected be rolled out across all Australian banks and credit unions in 2025.
Banks have also committed to introducing new and higher protections into their systems. Customers should expect more warnings and delays when paying a new provider or increasing payment limits, and comprehensive identification and authentication measures when opening new accounts to help prevent identity fraud.
In addition, the Scam-Safe Accord includes a major expansion of intelligence sharing across the sector. All banks and credit unions will be joining the Australian Financial Crimes Exchange and using their scams intel by mid-2024, while also joining the Fraud Reporting Exchange over 2024-25 to help customers recover money faster. This means financial institutions will be able to share critical information at speed about scam transactions.
Protecting customers across the whole scam ecosystem.
The banking industry is committed to protecting its customers by doing its part to fight scams. Recent data from the Australian Financial Crimes Exchange showed banks have recovered $600 million in stolen funds over the last year that have been returned to customers.
However, there are many parts to a scam being committed, from how the victim is contacted, to funds being transferred out of a victim’s account. Actions taken by the banking industry alone will only be successful if we all play our part.
Effectively fighting scams requires a comprehensive and consistent response from other industries across the scam ecosystem, helping to block SMS calls that impersonate government and Australian businesses, and fake ads that scammers initially use to perpetrate their crime.
It is critical that government, banks, telcos, social media companies, and crypto platforms work together to stay one step ahead of sophisticated criminal gangs and prevent scams from harming Australians.
How to protect yourself against scams.
All Australians need to unite to combat scams, and consumers have a key role to play, too. Scamwatch has some tips on red flags to look out for when identifying a scam including:
- Being offered an “amazing opportunity” to make or save money
- Someone you haven’t met, or have only talked to online, needs your help – and money
- A message you receive contains links or attachments
- Being pressured to act quickly
- Being asked to pay in unusual or specific ways
- Asking you to set up new accounts or to pay them to use a PayID.
If scammers have been successful, they will try to get more money. Unfortunately, one in three victims of a scam have been scammed more than once. If you’ve lost money to a scam, be especially wary of new scams – including if someone offers to help you get your money back.
Stop – don’t give money or personal information to anyone you don't know.
Scammers will offer to help you or ask you to verify who you are. They will pretend to be from organisations or people you know and trust. Use strong passwords, never share your personal details or banking information, and try to monitor your bank transactions, credit card, and online shopping accounts.
Think – ask yourself could the message or call be fake?
Scammers often pressure victims through a sense of urgency. It is vital to slow down and think clearly. Never click a link or an attachment in a message, and only contact businesses or government using contact information from their official website or through their secure apps. If you’re not sure say no, hang up, or delete.
Protect – act quickly if something feels wrong.
Contact Beyond Bank immediately on 13 25 85 if you notice some unusual activity or if a scammer gets your money or information, and report it to ReportCyber and Scamwatch.