Real Time Warnings For Scam Payments


Stepping up its fight against scammers, Westpac has today introduced new security features for consumer and small business customers.

Westpac Verify will now include an up-front risk indicator to alert customers when there is a potential account name mismatch when they’re adding a new payee using a BSB and account number. It will also warn customers when Westpac has not made a payment to this account before. The alert will prompt customers to review payee details, helping to stop scams and mistaken payments.

Westpac Head of Fraud Prevention, Ben Young, says the introduction of the new Westpac Verify feature could help stop more scams in the moment and could save customers millions.

“Scammers are always finding new ways to target unsuspecting Australians, so it’s important we’re continuing to make it harder for them to operate here in Australia,” Mr Young said.

“Our latest customer scam data reveals losses have come down, but we know scammers are still wreaking havoc and having a devastating impact on people’s lives.”

“Westpac Verify will help individuals and small businesses identify potential scams before they’ve made a payment, which could save them from losing significant amounts of money. The new capability helps to shut down scams including investment and fake invoice scams, which rely on the victim not realising they’re paying a scammer instead of their intended recipient,” Mr Young said.

To further support businesses, Westpac is also extending its industry leading SaferPay capability to small business customers. Westpac SaferPay alerts customers to potential scams by asking a series of questions which are presented for new payments detected to have potential scam risk. If customer responses suggest the payment may be a scam, Westpac will not allow the payment to be processed.

Westpac SaferPay has been in operation for consumer payments since March this year and has prevented customers from making approximately $1 million in potential scam payments.

Westpac will also now require customers to enter a description for payments to other bank accounts made via the mobile app, to help identify and block potential scam payments.

“The more information we know about a payment, the more our fraud systems can find the likely scams among the millions of genuine payments, and help to protect customers’ funds,” Mr Young said.

In the first half of FY24, Westpac saved customers over $120 million in scam losses, representing a 32 per cent reduction compared with the same period last year. The bank has continued to invest in new detection and prevention measures, including:

  • Cryptocurrency blocks – for payments to certain digital currency exchanges.
  • Call spoofing measures – added 94,000 Westpac numbers to the ‘Do Not Originate’ list preventing scammers from impersonating the bank’s phone numbers.
  • Inbound payment detection – monitoring on payments coming into the bank to check for potential scam indicators, with funds held where a scam is detected.
  • Sophisticated detection technology – advanced behavioural tool helping combat remote access scams.

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